What to Expect from the Third Stimulus Check

March 02, 2021

By Lisa Cappiello

The third round of stimulus checks could finally be upon us. But exactly when can we expect them, and just who is eligible for these payments? Those are a pair of big questions that need answering.

In February, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which includes a provision for the third stimulus check. This bill now goes to the Senate for a vote by March 14. Final exact details will be known when and if the bill is ultimately signed into law in mid-March.

The criteria for this round of payments is similar to the past two payments. Here are a few differences and provisions we might expect:

Citizenship Status

For the first and second payments, nonresident aliens and married couples who were married filing jointly where one spouse did not have a Social Security number were excluded from the payments. To qualify for the third stimulus payment, one member of the family must have a valid Social Security number. If all members of the family have Individual Identification Numbers and not Social Security numbers, the household would not qualify. The rules in this area are extremely complex and dependent on individual circumstances regarding eligibility.

Adult Dependents

This third round of payments will include an extra $1,400 for dependents of any age. This differs from the other two stimulus checks, which only included payments for dependents 16 years of age and younger. For this third round of payments, 17 year olds and adult dependents would also be eligible. This group would include college students, children of all ages with certain disabilities, and older adults.

Timing

As with the first two checks, individuals with direct deposit information on file with the IRS will receive the money first, followed by physical checks and Economic Impact Payment debit cards. The IRS is already busy with the 2020 tax filing season, and now there is new criteria for determining eligibility— both of which will certainly play a role in when the money ultimately gets into people’s hands. If the bill is passed into law by March 12, we might see some of these direct deposit payments as early as March 22, while others might not get their payment until possibly mid-April. Final payments hope to be completed by December 31.

Tax Planning

Stimulus payments will be determined based upon your latest filed tax return, either 2019 or 2020. If you are like many Americans whose income was lower in 2020 or if you had a child in 2020, you might want to file your 2020 taxes now in order to qualify for a higher advanced stimulus check. This would enable you to receive this money now instead of waiting for the remaining amount when filing next year’s tax return.

About Lisa Cappiello

Lisa provides tax consulting and compliance services to high net worth individuals, family offices, trusts, corporate executives and pass-through entities.