As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, the IRS issued two rounds of Economic Impact Payments to US citizens and US residents. The first round of payments were issued in late Spring of 2020 and the second round of payments were issued in early 2021. If you were eligible for the Economic Impact Payments, but you were not issued the payments by the IRS, you can request the payments when filing your 2020 income tax return by applying for the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Who is eligible for the Economic Impact Payment?

Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals ($150,000 for married couples) will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and joint filers with income exceeding $198,000 with no children are not eligible. Also, if an individual was claimed as a dependant on another taxpayer’s 2019 tax return, they are also not eligible.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 should have automatically received an Economic Impact Payment of up to $1,200 for individuals ($2,400 for married couples) and up to $500 for each qualifying child for the first payment and up to $600 for individuals ($1,200 for married couples) and up to $600 for each qualifying child for the second payment. A child must have a Social Security Number to qualify.

The Economic Impact Payment is not subject to taxation in the US or Canada.

What is the Recovery Rebate Credit?

If you were eligible for the Economic Impact Payment and did not receive the full amount, you can apply for the Recovery Rebate Credit as part of your 2020 return. You can not receive both the full Economic Impact Payment and the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Economic Impact Payments were based on your 2018 or 2019 tax year information. The Recovery Rebate Credit is similar except that the eligibility and the amount are based on 2020 information that you include on your 2020 tax return.

In order to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit, you will need to know the amount of any Economic Impact Payments issued to you. If you are eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return, it will be reduced by any Economic Impact Payments you previously received.

The amount you receive for the Recovery Rebate Credit will increase your refund or be applied to any tax owed for the 2020 taxation year.


The information provided is intended for general purposes only. Care has been taken to ensure the information is accurate. However, no representation is made as to the accuracy thereof. The information should not be relied upon to replace specific professional advice.