Fourth Stimulus Check Update: How to Get Another $1,400 Direct Payment

Some Americans will be eligible for a $1,400 stimulus check this year even if Congress doesn't pass any legislation for another round of checks.

Republicans and Democrats fought hard over the issue of stimulus checks after passing the first round in 2020, so most Americans have already received all the money they're likely to get. However, some Americans will be able to claim additional payments when they file their taxes and they could be eligible for the full $1,400 payment.

One way Americans could be eligible for a full $1,400 payment is if they had a child in 2021. Why? Because the 2021 Economic Impact Payments were based on a person's 2020 or 2019 return. So, any eligible dependent that came into the family last year wouldn't have been included in the payment amount.

Those who have a child who qualifies for the Recovery Rebate Credit can claim the dependent when they file their 2021 tax return this year. To be eligible, the child must be under 19 at the end of the year unless they're a student and a child, brother, sister, foster child, stepsibling, half-brother or half-sister or a descendant of any of them.

fourth stimulus check update $1,400 payment taxes
Some Americans will be eligible for another $1,400 payment when they file their taxes in 2022. Here, President Joe Biden speaks about the coming retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on January 27 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Unlike the first two rounds of payments, which limited dependent eligibility to just children, the third stimulus check made accommodations for dependents of all ages. So, a person who adds a parent or grandparent or another eligible dependent to their household could also be eligible for a $1,400 payment.

If a person didn't add a dependent to their family in 2021, they still may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2021 tax return.

Since 2021 economic impact payments were based on a person's 2020 income, they could be eligible for additional money if they lost income in 2021. For example, if a single filer made $80,000 in 2020, they would not have qualified for a stimulus check because of the income cap. However, if their adjusted gross income dropped to $75,000 in 2020, they could claim the full $1,400 when they file their tax return this year.

The Internal Revenue Service began mailing Letter 6475 at the end of January and it's intended to detail a person's 2020 Economic Impact Payment. Taxpayers may find the letter helpful in determining if they are owed more money and if they're eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their taxes.

Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for more money than they received should pay close attention when filing their taxes this year, as it will be their last chance to receive the funds.