The stimulus test formula might change, and with it, the amount of cash you might obtain in a third test.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Here’s some numbers: $1,400. $75,000. $600 billion. Of all the figures being tossed round in the budding negotiations over a third stimulus test, the precise formula written into the proposed laws for calculating how a lot cash every family will get has been the most mysterious and least scrutable factor by far. Now, for the first time on this sequence of COVID-19 stimulus funds, comes a public problem that proposes adjustments to the formula because it was used for the first two stimulus checks.

Ten Republican senators have collectively instructed a $1,000 cost that will additionally change two extra variables in the stimulus test formula: the higher restrict and the “reduction rate,” which is the share per $1,000 of adjusted gross earnings that a test is diminished by. Taken collectively, it signifies that far fewer individuals would qualify for a third test if this $600 billion proposal had been adopted with none further adjustments.

These adjustments aren’t possible to occur, however the problem to the stimulus established order does open up the chance of latest accounting for a third test — one that does not simply modify the per-person most, however the higher caps and different variables, too. For instance, the group’s proposal would moreover present $500 to the household complete for every dependent, of any age. That performs a function, too. We’ll share some examples of how issues might change in the third formula and why that issues. Here are the prime issues to learn about stimulus funds proper now, together with when a third test might arrive.

How the IRS calculates your stimulus test complete

You can qualify for a stimulus test if you happen to’re a nonfiler who would not pay taxes, however basically, your tax return is considered one of the most vital components in figuring out your stimulus test complete. The others embody your AGI and the stimulus test formula.

The main variables being plugged into the formula’s equation are:

  • Your adjusted gross earnings you set in your 2019 or 2020 federal tax returns.
  • Upper limits for single taxpayers, heads of family (e.g., a single individual with no less than one youngster) and married {couples} submitting collectively.
  • Number of eligible dependents you declare.
  • Reduction price per $1,000 of earnings.

Assuming you qualify, the result’s beneath a most restrict, you’ll obtain no less than some stimulus test cash. If the quantity is above it, you will not obtain any. (If you do not sometimes file taxes, this is what it’s best to know.)

There’s a sliding scale concerned. For the first two checks, in case your AGI was lower than $75,000 as a single taxpayer (meaning no children), you’ll obtain the complete second stimulus test complete of $600. If you made greater than that, the dimension of your test would diminish till it hits the earnings restrict, after which level you’d be ineligible.

For the $600 billion proposal and its $1,000 test, you might obtain the full $1,000 quantity if you happen to earn $40,000 a 12 months or much less (your AGI as a single taxpayer), however $50,000 or above would be the vanishing level. If you make greater than that, you’d be out of luck — no test. Double that to $100,000 for married {couples}. The $600 billion proposal would additionally enhance the discount price, which signifies that you’d get much less cash per $1,000 you make, till you hit that $50,000 vanishing level the place you would not get any cash in any respect. Children change the equation, however extra on that under — it will get advanced.

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Stimulus check No. 3: What you need to know


What the difference between the $600 second check and the $1,400 third stimulus check tells us

Biden’s third stimulus check proposal — for $1,400 — hasn’t gone into detail about how it could change any variables other than the maximum amount. Based on that, we’ve used our stimulus calculator tools to tabulate differences in the income limit (the absolute AGI cutoff) between the second stimulus check for $600 and a potential third check for $1,400, if the formulas are otherwise the same.

The results below demonstrate that more people would be eligible for a check — and a larger check at that — when the maximum limit goes up (but nothing else changes). The $600 billion GOP proposal is one example of how some would seek to target the third stimulus check, to make it possible for people who make less than a set amount to get more money.

$600 vs. $1,400 stimulus check income limits

AGI to receive full amount (Both stimulus checks) Second stimulus check upper income limit (AGI) $1,400 stimulus check upper income limit (AGI) Difference between upper limits Percentage difference between upper limits
Single tax filer Under $75,000 $87,000 $103,000 $16,000 18%
Head of household Under $112,500 $124,500 $140,500 $16,000 13%
Married, filing jointly Under $150,00 $174,000 $206,000 $32,000 18%

How does adding money for each dependent work?

This is where the calculations get really interesting. The numbers in the chart above don’t include the $600 flat rate for child dependents in the second stimulus check, or the $500 for dependents of any age that’s proposed in the $600 billion framework. There’s no stated cap on the number of dependents that count toward your total check. 

Regardless, the way the equation breaks down would be the same as far as we can tell right now. Let’s use the second stimulus check as the main example. The equation — which is written into the stimulus bill, by the way — begins with the largest amount you’d be eligible to receive ($600 per single taxpayer or $1,200 for joint filers), and adds $600 for each qualifying child. Then it reduces the total possible sum according to your AGI.

It’s a little like starting a test with a perfect 100 point score and subtracting every point you “miss,” rather than starting with zero points and adding them all up at the end of the test.

But in this case, the dependents you name can start you at a higher value, say 110 points in our classroom example. So by the time you subtract “points,” you may still get more than people who don’t have dependents — even if your AGI is above the maximum cap. The more child dependents you have, the higher your starting value and the higher your ending value, too.

That’s why it’s possible you could be out of range for a payment based on your AGI, but still receive a partial payment on the strength of your eligible dependents. Still confused? We don’t blame you. You can experiment with ranges in our second stimulus check calculator and third stimulus check calculator, and see below for more sums.


A third stimulus check could be dramatically different from the first two.

Angela Lang/CNET

The stimulus payment formula: an example

We want to show you the calculation at work and how the math changes for people who claim dependents. 

Let’s use the two third stimulus check proposals as our guidelines. With Biden’s $1,400 plan, an individual can qualify for a stimulus check of up to $1,400, a married couple who file taxes jointly can get up to $2,800 — and there could be an extra $600 per qualified dependent. Note that a head of household is someone who files taxes individually and has at least one dependent. People who are considered single filers claim no dependents on their taxes, only themselves, which is why this group isn’t explicitly included in the chart below. 

For the $600 billion proposal from the group of 10 Republican senators, you see a $1,000 stimulus check maximum per single taxpayer, and $2,000 per married couple, but with a much lower income limit. There’s also a $500 bonus for each dependent, regardless of age.

These figures have been worked out using CNET’s third stimulus check calculator. They’re best considered estimates only, since secondary qualifications other than income could influence your final sum.

$1,400 vs. $1,000 stimulus check (Biden vs. $600B GOP proposal)

Head of household Married couple, filing jointly
Estimated total with:
$40,000 and no dependents [$1,400 Biden] $1,400 (single taxpayer) $2,800
$40,000 and no dependents [$1,000 GOP] $1,000 (single taxpayer) $2,000
$80,000 and no dependents [$1,400 Biden] $1,150 (single taxpayer) $2,800
$80,000 and no dependents [$1,000 GOP] Not certified Not certified
$40,000 and 1 dependent [$1,400 Biden] $2,000 $3,000
$40,000 and 1 dependent [$1,000 GOP] $1,500 $2,500
$80,000 and 1 dependent [$1,400 Biden] $1,750 $3,400
$80,000 and 1 dependent [$1,000 GOP] Not certified $2,500
$40,000 and a pair of dependents [$1,400 Biden] $2,600 $4,000
$40,000 and a pair of dependents [$1,000 GOP] $2,000 $3,000
$80,000 and a pair of dependents [$1,400 Biden] $2,600 $4,000
$80,000 and a pair of dependents [$1,000 GOP] Not certified $3,000

What different methods might a third stimulus test change?

If the third stimulus test did not change the formula from the first two funds, however the complete per individual did rise, that is what you might anticipate:

  • People who received the first two checks would get more cash (as a result of the $1,400 higher restrict is larger).
  • More individuals might qualify as a result of the earnings restrict threshold would rise, which might additionally elevate the cutoff level for receiving no cost in any respect. We discuss extra about that right here.

Biden’s stimulus plan additionally seeks to change stimulus test {qualifications} that will enhance the household’s general pool for tens of thousands and thousands of individuals, together with cash for dependents of any age, and for households with “mixed-status” citizenship. Remember, the larger the sum a household begins with, the larger the test they’re possible to obtain after the IRS makes its deductions based mostly in your AGI. 

For extra data, listed below are the prime issues to learn about stimulus checks. And see how SSDI recipients and checksolder adults and retirees and individuals who aren’t US residents or Americans who do not reside in the US may qualify.

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