When Will The Third Round of Stimulus Checks Arrive?

By Stefano Tromba
March 8, 2021

Now that the House and Senate officially passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, you may be wondering when will the $1,400 stimulus checks go out. The House plans to pass the amended COVID-19 relief bill Tuesday, with President Biden signing it into law before March 14. After that, the IRS can speed up the process to send the third stimulus payments.

Just as prior stimulus checks, processing and sending them this time around could be more complicated. The reason for this is that we’re in the middle of tax season, which doesn’t make things easier. Plus, the IRS is already working through direct deposit tax returns while also going through a backlog from last year’s tax claims. Additionally, the IRS will have a new stimulus check equation to follow, since this third check imposes a firm income limit to target the checks.

Regardless, Biden has stated that checks should arrive this month. There’s still the question of which stimulus payment priority group you’re in. This could push back your check by weeks.

When Your Stimulus Check May Arrive

The date the IRS begins sending the initial wave of stimulus payments may not match the date you receive your money in your bank account or the mail. With over 100 million payments to process, it will take some time.

If the bill becomes law by the Democrats’ self-imposed deadline of March 14,  the first wave of payments will likely start to go out by or before April 1. Direct deposit recipients would be the first to receive a check, followed by staggered start dates for physical checks and EIP cards.

Remember, this is only for the dates the IRS will begin to send checks. It could take several weeks for the IRS to process every group’s funds and more time for the transactions to go through, especially if you’re issued a paper check or EIP card. Any additional complication could delay your payment.

Third Stimulus Check: Proposed Qualifications

Qualifying Group What’s Proposed
Individuals An AGI of less than $80,000 to qualify for any payment amount
Head of household An AGI of less than $120,000 to qualify for any payment amount
Couple filing jointly An AGI less than $160,000 to qualify for any payment amount
Dependents of all ages $1,400 apiece, no cap — but only if guardians make under the above limits
Families with mixed US citizenship Provided they meet other qualifications
US citizens living abroad Yes, same as the first two checks
Citizens of US territories Yes, same as the first two checks, with payments handled by each territory
SSDI and other tax non-filers Yes, but may require an extra step to claim (more below)
Incarcerated people Initially excluded by IRS interpretation, and up for discussion in the third check
People owing child support Excluded under CARES, but included in the second check
Disqualified groups Not covered by the law
Non-US citizens “Resident aliens” aren’t included
Noncitizens who pay taxes Possibly, depending on “mixed-status” rules (more below)

Who Gets a Check? Stimulus Check Formula

Your tax return is one of the most important factors in determining your stimulus check total. Other factors include your adjusted gross income, or AGI, and the stimulus check formula. You can still qualify for a stimulus check if you’re a non-filer who doesn’t pay taxes too.

Variables the IRS Uses in its Stimulus Formula are:

  • Your AGI per your 2019 or 2020 federal tax returns
  •  The number of eligible dependents you claim
  • Upper-income limits for single taxpayers, heads of household (for example, a single person with at least one child) and married couples filing jointly.
  • “Reduction” or “phase-out” rate — the amount your total would drop for every $1,000 you make above the income limit that allows you to qualify for the full check amount. In other words, the IRS calculates a partial payment if you don’t qualify for the full amount.

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