Here’s Exactly How to Get Your Missed Stimulus Payments When You File Your Taxes

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Didn’t get your stimulus check? You can claim your missing payment as part of your 2020 tax return. 

The first stimulus payment in April 2020 was up to $1,200 per person plus up to $500 per dependent. The second stimulus payment made in late 2020 was up to $600 per person and up to $600 per dependent.  

If you’re filing taxes electronically, as the IRS expects 90% of Americans to do, it’s easy to claim your missing stimulus. And you may be able to start right now. 

Pro Tip

Select direct deposit to receive your tax return and missing stimulus payments. That way, you can automatically get any future stimulus checks you may qualify for.

Here’s exactly what it’ll look like on three popular filing platforms:

IRS E-file

The earliest you can file a tax return this year is Feb. 12, a delay from the usual Jan. 15 start, but the IRS has already made its free filing tool available to use. 

You can file directly through the IRS  if you make under $72,000 per year. 

If you’re missing one or both stimulus payments, make sure you fill out this section of the return, which you’ll encounter after you enter personal information like your name, address, and Social Security number: 

The amount of missing stimulus you should have received will be added onto your federal return.


There’s a free version of TurboTax that you can use if you have a simple tax return. But no matter what version you use, there will be a section asking if you’ve received stimulus payments this year. 

On TurboTax, this section appears near the end of your tax submission, after you put in income information from your W-2, 1099, and other applicable forms. Your stimulus payment will be added onto your tax return as a credit. 

H&R Block

H&R block also offers a free, basic program to file your taxes. If you missed your stimulus payments, fill out this section at the end of your submission to make sure you get it: 

If You’re Using a Tax Expert

If you’re using an accountant or other tax expert to help you file, make sure they have all of the correct documents from you. You’ll need:

Personal information to verify your identity:

  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth 
  • Information for any spouses or dependents 

Income information (depending on your situation, you may need to provide more forms or information):

  • Waged income: W-2 
  • Investment income: 1099 (-INT, -DIV, -B, etc.), K-1s, stock information
  • Income from state or local tax refunds and/or unemployment: form 1099-G

This year, a few additional forms may be needed by more individuals than usual. If you received unemployment benefits, make sure you have form 1099-G. If you used your home for business, know your home size, office, size, home expenses, and office expenses to receive a home office deduction. 

If you are filing for the recovery rebate credit because you received a smaller economic impact payment than you think you should have, you may need to supply your accountant with the IRS notices you received when you got your payments. 

You should have received IRS Notice 1444 for the first payment, and IRS Notice 1444-B for the second. You can use the information on these notices to file for the missing portion of your stimulus payments, which your accountant or professional tax filer can help with.