Stimulus checks and child support: How the IRS lets some parents ‘double dip’ for $500 apiece

Stimulus checks for dependents have been rife with points, with some dad and mom receiving no cost and different dad and mom every getting $500 for a similar youngster.

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Whereas a second stimulus check is being bandied around, awaiting resolution, you should still have questions concerning the finer factors of the first direct payment, particularly the way it allotted up to $1,200 per individual adult and $500 per “child” dependent

The eligibility rules concerning dependents are sophisticated, particularly for folks who pay or obtain youngster help. Realizing the nuances is vital to creating certain you got the right amount of money in the first check, anticipating how much you could get in the second, and should you did not get any stimulus cash in any respect, explaining why, even if you seemingly met all the qualifications.

See, youngster help conditions have particular guidelines involving dad and mom who owe funds and people who obtain the cash. Some dad and mom who had money owed for unpaid youngster help, for instance, discovered that their stimulus checks (and typically their partner’s) have been garnished, whereas some dad and mom who’re separated or divorced however preserve joint custody have truly gotten two $500 checks per youngster, one for every mum or dad. Some conditions noticed the incorrect mum or dad get the dependent examine.

Learn on to study all the pieces it is advisable find out about how the IRS dealt with the primary spherical of checks for youngster help conditions and what that would spell for one more stimulus payment, whenever it reaches you. (In case you’re curious, this is what we all know about the next stimulus bill.) This story updates usually.


States have been allowed to take some or all of an individual’s stimulus examine cost to cowl past-due youngster help payments.


Your stimulus examine may very well be decreased for youngster help

Though the federal government prevented money owed like overdue scholar loans and again taxes from being taken from the primary spherical of stimulus checks, one sort of debt not coated by these protections was overdue youngster help, often known as “arrears” or “arrearage.” In case you owe more than $150 in arrears, your state might reserve the proper to garnish some or all your first stimulus examine, based mostly on how a lot you owe. 

And should you’re owed youngster help, chances are you’ll obtain cash garnished out of your kid’s different mum or dad, though how lengthy it takes to get you is determined by numerous components (the cash has to course of by way of the state, which can then difficulty it to you).

A second stimulus examine may also be seized (or not)

Relying on which language is included into the next stimulus bill — if one is handed in any respect — past-due youngster help might or is probably not garnished once more. The Heroes Act, a proposal that was handed within the Home of Representatives however will not be legislation, particularly prohibited decreasing or offsetting the quantity of stimulus checks to pay a toddler help debt. The Senate’s HEALS Act, which can also be not legislation, allowed it. It is unclear the place the current stimulus bill beneath negotiation in Washington stands on the matter.

The best way to get the cash taken out of your partner’s examine


In case your nonparent partner had cash deducted from their stimulus examine for youngster help that you just owe, the IRS will difficulty one other examine to make up the distinction.

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Though states had the proper to garnish CARES Act stimulus examine cash from dad and mom who owed again youngster help, the IRS, which issued the checks, says it did not imply to permit states to additionally deduct from a present (nonparent) spouse’s stimulus check as well.

If you’re now married to somebody who will not be the kid’s mum or dad, and past-due youngster help was deducted from funds supposed to your present partner, the IRS directed taxpayers in August to fill out a Form 8379 (PDF) so as to obtain a substitute examine. Nonetheless, since then, the company says it’s sifting through to find such errors and might be issuing substitute checks, though it didn’t present a timeline for doing so. It seems the IRS is ironing out this explicit wrinkle, so hopefully it will not be an issue subsequent time.

How joint custody means it’s best to get two $500 checks per youngster

More often than not — however not all the time — the noncustodial mum or dad pays youngster help to the custodial mum or dad, who possible claims the child on their taxes. Typically, nonetheless, youngster help is owed even when dad and mom share custody (when one mum or dad earns considerably greater than the opposite, for instance). In lots of these circumstances — however, once more, not all — dad and mom alternate claiming the kid on their taxes (one in odd years, the opposite in even years, for instance).

In conditions like these, it is doable that the $500 stimulus funds for dependents may very well be despatched to the mum or dad who’s owed again youngster help whereas the one who owes receives nothing. If that occurs, the mum or dad who didn’t obtain the cash can claim it on their 2020 tax return and obtain it together with any refund due in 2021, based on Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow on the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. “Double dipping,” on this occasion, isn’t a glitchboth parents technically qualify for the $500 payment (for a complete of $1,000 per youngster).


In case you need assistance determining dependent funds, strive contacting the IRS immediately.

Angela Lang/PJDM

What to do should you need assistance figuring this all out

Like something having to do with taxes, these things can get complicated fairly rapidly. In case you need assistance and haven’t got an accountant on retainer to help you, you’ll be able to strive searching for more information on the IRS website or giving the IRS a call. On the backside of the IRS’ letter accompanying paper checks is a quantity you’ll be able to name for extra data: 800-919-9835. The IRS assist quantity is 800-829-1040.

Keep updated on the latest on stimulus bill negotiations here, learn how a lot you may qualify for with our payment calculator here and see once you may get a second stimulus examine with our stimulus timeline here.

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Dale Smith