When the first round of stimulus checks, known as the Economic Impact Payment, were issued in 2020 families who filed a joint tax return were not eligible if one spouse had an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) instead of a Social Security Number (SSN). This left many families out, especially those families with one spouse a citizen of the U.S. but married to a foreign immigrant who only has an ITIN. In this case, neither spouse was eligible for the payment nor the additional $500 payment per child. What about those families living in the U.S. and paying taxes for years but not able to benefit from the stimulus? Well, congress finally sympathized with these families when coming up with the second relief package of 2020.
With the second round of stimulus checks approved in late December, these families got some relief as congress approved the stimulus for $600 per person having a SSN as well as $500 per dependent child. This means that even though the spouse with the ITIN is not entitled to the $600 payment(s), this did not prohibit the spouse having a SSN from getting the payment along with any dependent children. The December 2020 aid package also included retroactive payment for those who missed out on the first check because they filed a joint tax return and one spouse had an ITIN. The $1.9 trillion stimulus package expected to pass any day now includes $1,400 payments per persons with social security numbers.
For those who are eligible to receive payment and do not receive checks, you may be able to get the payments when filing your 2020 tax return through the recovery rebate credit. Please consult a qualified tax professional for advice. This information is general in nature and should not be relied on. For more information and resources on COVID-19, see our coronavirus page.
Jill A. Helm, CPA