Stimulus money retroactively
July 31, 2020 5:42 PM   Subscribe

I am an idiot, and for various complicated reasons have not been able to file taxes for a few years (stupid glitch from years ago that I have been too lazy to iron out). I don't owe anything, except for probably penalties at this point (which I can pay unless they're huge). I've moved working this out up on my to-do list, but it is going to take a while and probably involve lawyers. Also at this point the whole issue is a huge albatross of anxiety for me.

When I get this sorted, will I be able to get my Trump money retroactively?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, you can still get your stimulus check. The checks are a pre-payment for a credit on your 2020 tax return which you will file in April 2021. So worst case, you will receive the payment as a refund in 2021. Just make sure you file your 2020 tax return next April. You don't even need to file your past returns to get it, although you should probably do your best to catch up.

The IRS has been mailing out the checks in advance based on 2018 and 2019 tax returns, but it is actually accounted for on your 2020 tax return. If you file your 2018 or 2019 returns now, it is possible that you would get the check before the end or this year, but worst case you absolutely will get it when you file your 2020 return.
posted by JackFlash at 5:57 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]

And it is rare that you would need a lawyer to help you with your past returns. Catching up on past returns is no big deal, a very routine thing, and can be handled by just about any tax representative, even HR Block. It helps if you have your documents -- W-2 and 1099 forms. If you had W-2 withholding, you may even find out that you are owed a refund.
posted by JackFlash at 6:01 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]

If you truly didn't owe anything, you won't incur a penalty for late filing, since the penalty is a percentage of what you owed.
posted by nirblegee at 8:27 PM on July 31 [2 favorites]

Filing past returns is not a big deal. Use Free Tax USA. I did some research for someone early in the stimulus process who owed money to the IRS. They were worried that the IRS would offset the stimulus check with the money owed. The IRS does not have the authority to do that. No offset. No matter how much you may owe, you get the check. I also found 8ut that you can file a return for 2019 that is really just a way to get your banking information on the record with the IRS.
posted by AugustWest at 10:14 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]

Post your bank information the IRS site. They have sent "gift cards" to some people, possibly not the governments best move but there you go. ;-}
posted by sammyo at 9:01 AM on August 1

It's my understanding that the timings check is *not* connected to your tax refund.

I have gotten more in late tax returns not long ago, the penalties were minimal, the relief when I was done was enormous. Also, I got refunds. I hope that's motivating.
posted by theora55 at 3:39 PM on August 1

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