Last chance for US expats to claim up to $3.200 in COVID stimulus checks
As a US expat, you're exploring the advantages of life overseas. But there's one opportunity you don’t want to miss – claiming your government stimulus checks, otherwise known as Economic Impact Payments, which can amount to up to 3.200 US dollars. The final deadline of June 15, 2024, is fast approaching!
This is not just another date; it's your final chance to request a refund that will help your life abroad. Here’s how you can claim your stimulus checks and make sure you’re fully compliant, with the help of 1040 Abroad.
Schedule a call with 1040 Abroad to get your tax affairs in order
What are stimulus checks?
The stimulus package, officially known as Economic Impact Payments, was introduced by the federal government as a response to the economic challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. These checks aimed to provide financial assistance to American citizens, including those living abroad, against the economic impact of COVID-19, as many economic activities were at a standstill during the pandemic.
By default, they were issued in the form of a paper check, but they can also be requested as a direct deposit / direct payment to a US-based bank account.
Do US expats qualify for stimulus checks?
You read that right: even US expats living abroad could claim the Economic Impact payments from the IRS, so long as they fulfilled certain eligibility criteria. These are:
- Citizenship or residency: You must be a US citizen or a resident of the US.
- Dependent status: You must not be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
- Social security number: You must have a social security number (SSN) valid for work (i.e. it doesn’t bear words along the lines of “NOT VALID FOR WORK”). If you or your spouse are part of the military, that requirement can be waived.
- Income restrictions: To claim the full COVID-19 stimulus checks, your income must have been less than 75.000 USD in 2020 & 2021. The third check was completely phased out (i.e., dropped to zero) if your income was more than 80.000 USD for individual filers and 160.000 USD for couples filing joint returns.
- Tax filing: While it was possible to claim these checks without filing a tax return in 2020 and 2021, this is now a requirement (i.e., it is the only way to claim them).
The IRS initially issued these checks based on the 2019 tax return they had on file. This means those who didn’t file didn’t receive the checks, even though they were eligible for them. This is the case for many US citizens living overseas. If that is the situation you are in, now is the time to file your 2020 and 2021 tax returns to claim your stimulus payments.
The importance of compliance
Why is it worthwhile to get compliant? Compliance ensures you’re in good standing with the IRS and are eligible for any financial relief programs the US government offers. Becoming compliant doesn’t mean you will have to pay any penalties, and in many cases you won’t even owe the IRS any taxes.
How do you claim your stimulus check?
Here are the essential steps for claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit:
- File your 2020 and 2021 tax returns: If you haven’t already filed them, it’s crucial to do so immediately.
- Claim the Recovery Rebate Credit: On your 2020 and 2021 tax returns, you’ll find a section for the Recovery Rebate Credit.
- Understand the deadline: Due to the three-year statute of limitations for claiming a tax refund, the final opportunity to file these returns and claim your stimulus checks is rapidly approaching: the deadline is June 15, 2024, so acting now is imperative.
- Gather necessary documentation: To file these returns, you’ll need all relevant income statements and other financial documents from 2020 and 2021.
- Submit your tax returns: File your 2020 and 2021 tax returns with the Recovery Rebate Credit included. If you’re unsure how to do this, seek assistance from a tax professional specializing in expat tax issues.
- Track your refund: After filing, you can track the status of your refund through the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund?” This will give you updates on when to expect your stimulus payment.
Why act now?
With the June 15 deadline for claiming your stimulus checks through the Recovery Rebate Credit fast approaching, the Streamlined Compliance Procedures offer a valuable opportunity to become compliant and claim what you’re entitled to.
1040 Abroad can help you get compliant and get your tax refunds. Schedule a call with one of their experts.
How can 1040 Abroad assist?
1040 Abroad is your partner in navigating expat tax challenges. At 1040 Abroad, they understand US expats' unique challenges in managing their tax obligations. Their mission is to provide you with the expertise and support to navigate these complexities confidently.
They pride themselves on being a firm that stands against fearmongering tactics, focusing instead on empowering you with knowledge and solutions. Schedule a call with one of their experts today to get on your way towards compliance.