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A bonus stimulus check may be on the way, thanks to your tax return

MoneyWise logo MoneyWise 6/10/2021 Clayton Jarvis
graphical user interface, application: You may get a bonus stimulus check — here's how © 24K-Production / Shutterstock You may get a bonus stimulus check — here's how

Three months after it started, the pandemic's third round of stimulus checks still isn't over as the IRS continues to push out relief payments — including extra money to people who already got a third check.

The tax agency says it just sent out more than a million bonus payments, based on information it gleaned from recently filed tax returns. And many other Americans who never got a Round 3 stimulus check are finally receiving payouts, thanks to their 2020 taxes.

If you filed yours in recent weeks, one of the new stimulus checks might have your name on it and can help you pay off debt or bills, or give you some cash to save, invest or splurge with.

A fresh batch of 'plus-ups' and delayed 'stimmies'

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The IRS says this week it sent out another 2.3 million direct payments from the latest COVID-19 rescue package, which Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed in March.

Paper stimulus checks and direct deposits from the new batch were given an official payment date of June 9 and were made possible by the tax returns the recipients recently submitted. This year's delayed tax filing deadline was May 17.

More than 1.1 million of these fresh stimulus checks are what the IRS calls "plus-up" payments: bonus money for people who previously got third-round stimulus checks, though not the full $1,400.

If you received a shrunken payment, it may have been based on your 2019 tax return. Now that the tax agency has your 2020 return, and if it shows you made less money last year than you did the year before, you might be getting a plus-up.

Meanwhile, more than 900,000 of the new payments are going to Americans who hadn't received any "stimmy" from the latest round because the IRS didn't know how to reach them. Now that those people have filed their taxes, the tax agency has the information it needs to send the money.

Still haven’t filed your taxes? You could be missing out

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The brand new batch of stimulus checks is worth more than $4.2 billion, and brings the total number of payments from the third round to 169 million — valued at about $395 billion.

If you don’t normally file a tax return and haven’t received any stimulus check since distribution of the third round began on March 12, the IRS urges you to complete a 2020 return. You might receive both a relief payment and other helpful benefits, like the upcoming monthly checks to parents under an expansion of the child tax credit.

Stimulus payments will continue being delivered on a weekly basis, the tax agency said on Wednesday.

To receive a full $1,400 stimulus check, you need to submit a tax return showing adjusted gross income (AGI) — your total income minus some deductions — of $75,000 or less. If you and your significant file jointly, the AGI threshold is $150,000.

If you're not in the running for a booster stimulus check

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Not everyone is eligible for stimulus money from the latest wave of checks. If you won’t be receiving a bonus payment, you have other ways to your finances a booster shot.

Refinance your mortgage. If you’re a homeowner and haven't refinanced during the past year of ultra-low interest rates, you could be missing out on some serious savings. Mortgage data and technology provider Black Knight says 14.1 million homeowners still have an opportunity to save an average $287 a month by refinancing. That’s over $3,400 a year you could be putting back into your pocket.

Score a better deal on insurance. While you’re reducing the cost of homeownership, shop around and see if you can score a better deal on homeowners insurance. A little comparison shopping also can help you save big on car insurance.

Dominate your debt. Credit cards and short-term personal loans have been a life-saver for many Americans during the pandemic, but their high interest costs can wreak havoc on your finances for years. Rolling your balances into a lower-interest debt consolidation loan will help you pay off your debts more quickly and affordably.

Get serious about saving. If your budget is stretched to the point of snapping, find the wiggle room. Cancel any monthly subscriptions you're not using. Go to the grocery store with a list and stick to it. And before you shop online, downloand a free browser add-on that automatically hunts for better prices and coupons.

Grow your pocket change. You don't need $1,400 from the IRS to get your feet wet in today’s roiling stock market. A wildly popular app allows you to invest in a diversified portfolio using nothing more than "spare change" from everyday purchases.

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