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Stimulus check FAQ: Is it taxable? Will we ever see $2,000?

Common questions about the new round of $600 stimulus checks
Stimulus check
Posted at 1:05 PM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 20:54:26-05

The check is in the mail, as they say.

The IRS on New Year's Eve began direct-depositing $600 stimulus checks into the bank accounts of millions of Americans, and paper checks are starting to go out this week.

The agency says the distribution should be much quicker and less glitchy than the springtime round of $1,200 checks.

Still, we're hearing from many viewers with questions, so we wanted to try to answer some of them here.

Q: Who qualifies for a new $600 stimulus check?

Just like with the first check, everyone who filed taxes anytime in the last three years and is under the income limit should qualify for a $600 check. The cutoff for this round is lower than last time.

You must earn less than $75,000 a year as an individual (or $150,000 if you file jointly with your significant other) to receive the full amount. Individuals making up to $87,000 are still eligible to receive a smaller check, as are couples who make up to $174,000 — but if you earned more than that in 2019, you get nothing this time.

Q: Is the new $600 check ($1,200 for couples) taxable?

Pat Schneider of Hebron, Kentucky, tells us she heard a rumor that this second stimulus may count as income and could be taxable. But the IRS says just like the first time, it is actually an advance of a tax credit, not a gift or income.

That means you won't owe the tax man a dime.

Q: Is there still a chance they will bump these checks up to $2,000?

Brandi Miller of Hamersville, Ohio, has been out of work for several months and tells us her family of four is scraping by on part-time work and unemployment benefits. She wonders if Congress is still discussing upping the payout to $2,000 per person, as President Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (odd bedfellows) have been pushing for.

Unfortunately, the last proposal for a larger stimulus in the Senate expired on New Year's Day.

So although many members of Congress still support bigger payouts, they would have to debate and vote on a new bill. And with the Presidential election dominating Congress this week, it is unlikely they would tackle that before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

CVG airport employee Brian Edmondson told us he was hoping for at least another $1,200.

"$600 is better than nothing and will help pay some January bills," he said.

Q: How much will children receive? And what about college students?

Mel Wes asked us if teens will get stimulus checks this time. The good news is that the second stimulus increases the amount for dependent children under 17 from $500 to $600 each (as long as their parents qualify). A family of four could receive $2,400 this week — not a shabby figure.

The bad news is that, once again, most older teens and college students age 17 to 21 still do not qualify, an aggravating loophole that has not been fixed.

Q: What if your $600 stimulus check does not arrive this week?

If you do not receive a direct deposit by week's end, you can once again check the status of it on the IRS website, at the Check My Status page. The $600 checks will go into the same bank account used for the first $1,200 checks.

If you are among the 20% of taxpayers who received the first stimulus check by mail, you will receive the second one the same way in the next few weeks.

When your check does arrive, remember our motto: Don't waste your money.

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8:47 PM, Oct 17, 2018

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