The Internal Revenue Service is urging college students to claim their coronavirus stimulus checks by the end of the month.
The IRS announced on November 5 that eligible students missing their direct Economic Impact Payments, funded through the CARES Act passed back in March, can still register until November 21 to receive them. The agency as of August 28 had issued roughly 153 million checks to Americans, totaling nearly $269 billion, as a means to ease financial burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
“The IRS is working hard with our partners across the country to raise awareness about the upcoming deadline to register for a payment,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in an online statement.
“College students in particular should be careful not to overlook these payments if they’re supporting themselves and can’t be claimed as a dependent on someone’s tax returns. A few minutes of research could really help students.”
The IRS describes an eligible student as a “self-supporting college student who doesn’t need to file a tax return,” according to its announcement. These students’ parents did not claim them on their tax returns and the students did not file because their earnings were under the income threshold, the IRS continued.
Recent college graduates whose parents previously claimed them might also be eligible if their parents do not claim them in 2020, the IRS noted. However, the graduates will need to file a tax return in 2021 to receive the stimulus money.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Only Way to Register Is Through the Non-Filers Tool
According to the IRS, the only way for an eligible student to register for their check is through the Non-Filers tool available on its website.
The tool, launched in the spring, is an online form to prove eligibility and choose how the payment is delivered. It is designed for people with incomes “typically below” $24,400 for married couples and $12,000 for singles who are not claimed as dependents, the IRS website says.
“Anyone using the Non-Filers tool can speed up the arrival of their payment by choosing to receive it by direct deposit,” the IRS said in its November 5 alert. “Those not choosing this option will get a check.”
You Can Still Get Your Check if You Miss the Deadline, Just Not Until Next Year
Students who miss the November 21 deadline will still be able to receive their checks, the IRS said, but they will have to wait until next year and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 federal income tax returns.
“The Recovery Rebate Credit is a special one-time benefit that most people received last year in the form of an Economic Stimulus Payment,” according to an IRS fact sheet. “But people who did not receive the maximum amount of the Economic Stimulus Payment, and whose circumstances have changed, may be eligible now.”
The IRS is slated to open the 2021 tax filing season between January 15 and February 1, 2021, according to U.S. News & World Report. The outlet reported that the IRS will announce a specific date on its website by the end of 2020.