Stimulus Money and Taxes During COVID-19

How to claim past IRS stimulus payments on your 2020 tax return:

The Recovery Rebate Credits

Last Updated 2/2/2021


What should I do if I haven’t received my IRS stimulus payment?

No matter what the reason, if an eligible person didn’t get an IRS stimulus payment yet (whether that be a first round payment or second round payment or both), the solution is for them to file a 2020 tax return.

There is a special line on the return (line 30) for “Recovery Rebate Credit” and that is where you write the amount of money you were eligible for but didn’t receive. The first round payments were $600 per person and the second round payments were $1,200 per adult and $500 per child dependent. Further information regarding these IRS Economic Impact Payments can be found here: Economic Impact Payments | Internal Revenue Service (

It should be noted that if the IRS Get My Payment tool (Get My Payment | Internal Revenue Service) shows that your stimulus payment was mailed to you or deposited into your bank account and several weeks have passed since the date listed on the tool, you can request a “refund trace” to obtain a replacement check. Please call our general intake line at 215-981-3800 between 9:30 am - 12:00 pm Monday through Thursday if you would like assistance in requesting such a trace. Instructions for how to initiate a trace can be found here at the bottom of this FAQ from the IRS: Questions and Answers about the Second Economic Impact Payment | Internal Revenue Service.


How do I go about filing taxes to get the stimulus payment?

People can file taxes to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit even if they don’t have other income or don’t normally have to file taxes. Then, the stimulus money will be given to them as a tax refund.

The Campaign for Working Families (CWF) is a Philadelphia-area Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site staffed by IRS-certified volunteers who prepare tax returns for free for individuals who make $57,000 or less a year. Their website is: They are doing socially distanced drop-off services as well as virtual help. The IRS tax filing season this year begins on February 12 and the deadline to file a 2020 tax return is April 15, 2021.


Is there anything else I need to know about the Recovery Rebate Credit?

Absent further legislation from Congress and/or administrative guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department, a taxpayer’s Recovery Rebate Credit, claimed on a 2020 return, will offset any tax the taxpayer owes on that return itself.

If a 2020 return results in a refund, even if that refund includes a Recovery Rebate Credit, that refund could be applied to a taxpayer’s past IRS debt (if they have such debt) and/or to other governmental debts (if applicable) such as past-due child support, state income tax debt, and Social Security and unemployment overpayments.

If a taxpayer owes any such debts, they should call the Treasury Offset Program to see what debts they owe at 800-304-3107. You may be able to, from there, contact the agency you owe to see if you can possibly keep your IRS refund. If you only owe the IRS, and no other agency, for past debt, you can potentially request an Offset Bypass Refund to claim a hardship (such as an overdue, unpaid medical or utility bill or eviction notice) so you can keep some or all of your IRS refund. If you have such a hardship and only owe IRS debt, you should contact our general intake line, before you file a 2020 return, at 215-981-3800 between 9:30 am - 12:00 pm Monday through Thursday to see if our Taxpayer Support Clinic can assist you.