There is Still Time to Claim Your 2020 Stimulus Payments

A man sits at his desk doing tax paperwork

In 2020, the U.S. government issued two rounds of COVID stimulus payments. The first payment was $1,200, followed by a second payment of $600. Families with qualifying children under 17 received an additional $500 for the first round and $600 for the second round.

These payments were largely disbursed automatically by the IRS, based on individuals' 2018 or 2019 tax returns, or for those receiving Social Security benefits. However, not everyone received the full amount due.

Individuals who missed these payments and did not file a 2020 tax return have until May 17th to submit a 2020 tax return and claim any unpaid stimulus amounts for themselves and their qualifying children. This deadline applies even if there are no other reasons to file a tax return for 2020.

Note that 2020 tax returns can no longer be filed electronically. They must be printed, signed, dated, and mailed to the IRS using the address provided in the Form 1040 instructions. It is advisable to send these returns by Certified Mail, which costs around $5, to obtain a receipt with a tracking number. This receipt serves as proof of mailing by the deadline, which might be necessary if the IRS queries the timing of your filing.

Free tax preparation services for 2020 are available, including in-person assistance from the Campaign for Working Families in Philadelphia and online through It’s crucial to start this process soon to ensure there is enough time to prepare and send the tax return by the deadline.

You do not need to have earned income in 2020 to qualify for the stimulus payments. However, those who did earn income in 2020 or 2019 might also be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Discuss these possibilities with your tax preparer.

If you are missing your 2019 and 2020 W-2s or other income documents, you can retrieve them online. Visit the IRS website at, click on "Get Transcript Online," and log in or create an account to download your Wage & Income Transcripts and Record of Account Transcripts for these years. Your tax preparer can use these documents to determine if you can claim the EITC or CTC.

Don’t miss out on these funds if you’re eligible! If you have any questions or issues please contact us. Call our intake line at 215-981-3800 between 9:30 am and 12 pm, Monday through Thursday, or apply online at