Stimulus Checks: Here's What You Can Do If You Receive the Wrong Amount

Millions of Americans received stimulus checks this past week as part of the $2 trillion stimulus package the government passed late last month. However, like many other government rollouts over the years, taxpayers have faced several glitches while awaiting their $1,200 checks. One issue many have run into amid the coronavirus pandemic is getting the wrong amount of money in their accounts. Some have not received $500 for children, while others received a number that took them by surprise. But, there are some things you can do if this happens to you.

The first step is to find out exactly how much you should receive before getting concerned about receiving the wrong amount, notes Kiplinger. The easiest way to check is by using a stimulus check calculator. Most Americans will receive the baseline $1,200. If you are married and filed a joint tax return, you and your spouse will get a combined $2,400. If you have children who qualify for a check, you will receive $500 for each child.

The amount is based on adjusted gross income (AGI). If yours exceeds $75,000, you subtract five cents for every dollar over that. The threshold for head-of-household filers is $112,500 and $150,000 for joint filers. The AGI is based on your 2019 tax return, or your 2018 tax return if you have not filed the 2019 return yet. The due date for the 2019 filing was pushed back to July 15.

You can also contact the IRS, but you have to wait until after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. The IRS is even telling people not to call due to stimulus check issues at the moment. The CARES Act requires the IRS to contact you within 15 days of mailing or direct depositing the check to let you know the method and amount of the payment. The notification will also include a number to call if the check amount was wrong. You will have to wait until then to call. The notifications are being sent to the last known address the IRS has on file. If your address has changed, you should send in an 8822 Form.

If the check is less than it should be, the IRS will pay the difference, but not until next year, reports Kiplinger. The check people are getting now is actually advanced payments of the 2020 tax credit. Therefore, if you do not get everything you are owed, you can claim this as a refund or reduction in your 2020 tax return.


Another reason why the check could be more or less than expected is if you had not filed your 2019 tax return yet or it is still processing, so it is based on your 2018 filing. There has been concerns about the IRS sending out checks with amounts larger than expected, but the Federal Trade Commission says the IRS will never send an overpayment and would not ask you to pay it back with cash, a money transfer or gift cards. Anyone asking you to do so is a scammer.