Second Stimulus Check for US Expats Living Abroad During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Second stimulus check for expats living abroad during COVID-19 pandemic

On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, a spending bill that includes a $900 billion coronavirus (COVID-19) relief package. The legislation includes $600 stimulus checks for qualifying Americans, as well as an additional $600 per dependent under the age of 17. This is the second round of US coronavirus tax changes and relief funding, following the CARES Act of March 2020.

Who will receive a second stimulus check?

Any American—living in the US or abroad—will be eligible for a second stimulus check if you:

  • Have a Social Security number. Unlike the CARES Act, this legislation allows households in which at least one person has a Social Security number to get the $600 stimulus payment. Expats will also receive $600 per child under 17 with a Social Security number. This change is retroactive, which means that you can claim any qualifying funds not received in the first round of stimulus checks on your 2020 US expat tax return.
  • Earned less than $87,000 for individuals, $124,500 for heads of household, or $174,000 for married couples. (Your filing status is based on your most recent US tax return.) Payments will be reduced for individuals who earn more than $75,000 and couples who earn more than $150,000.
  • Receive federal benefits payments, such as Social Security, disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veterans Affairs benefits—even if you don’t earn enough to trigger an annual tax-filing requirement.
  • Don’t earn enough to file and don’t receive federal benefits, but used the IRS non-filers tool to input your bank or mailing information.
  • Filed a 2019 tax return, submitted your information through the IRS non-filers tool by November 21, 2020, or currently collect federal benefits. During the first round of stimulus checks, the IRS was able to send payments based on income from 2018 tax returns. However, for this round, the IRS will use 2019 income information only. If you did not file a 2019 tax return but are otherwise eligible for a payment, you will be able to claim this amount when you file your 2020 tax return.
  • Are an adult who is not claimed as a dependent by anyone else.

What are the income thresholds for the second stimulus check?

Individual expats who earn up to $75,000 will receive the maximum $600 payment. As income rises, payments decrease incrementally. Specifically, for every $100 that you make over the limit, your check will go down by $5. Payments phase out completely at $87,000. (In comparison, the first round of stimulus payments under the CARES Act capped income at $99,000 for individuals.)

Expats who are married filing jointly and earn up to $150,000 will receive a total of $1,200 ($600 per spouse). Payments phase out at $174,000. (Under the CARES Act, payments had phased out at $198,000.)

Expats filing as heads of household who earn up to $112,500 will receive the full $600 payment. Payments phase out completely at $124,500. (First round payments phased out at $136,500.)

How and when will I receive my second Economic Impact payment?

The IRS will send payments via direct deposit, check, and prepaid debit card from December 29, 2020 until January 15, 2020. Expats can check the status of their payment using the IRS’ Get My Payment tool.

What if I’m eligible but didn’t receive my COVID relief payment?

The Consolidated Appropriations Act requires the IRS and the Treasury to stop sending payments by January 15, 2020. If your Economic Impact payment hasn’t been sent before that date (you can check if your payment was sent on the IRS website), you can claim the amounts you’re owed from both the first and second rounds of COVID-19 relief on your 2020 taxes.

Want help claiming your stimulus payment on your US Expat Tax Return?

Were you eligible for an Economic Impact payment but never received one (in either the first or second round) while living abroad? Not sure if you qualified for a direct relief payment for yourself or your dependents? Greenback’s tax experts are standing by to help you navigate the unique tax implications of COVID-19 relief payments.

All of our certified accountants and IRS Enrolled Agents have in-depth knowledge of expatriate taxation and the current tax changes surrounding coronavirus relief legislation. Contact us today to find out how we can help you make filing your expat tax return quick, easy, and cost-effective.

Ready to kick off your expat taxes for this year? Get started now to meet your dedicated expat tax expert today. They’ll help you find the right filing option for your tax situation, ensure 100% accuracy on your return, and uncover all the best savings opportunities for you. Learn more about working with Greenback.