Stimulus checks and child support: IRS lets some parents ‘double dip.’ What to know

Stimulus checks for dependents have been rife with points, with some mother and father not receiving any cost and different mother and father each getting $500 for a similar youngster.

Angela Lang/PJDM

Whereas the clock is ticking on a second stimulus check, some individuals are nonetheless attempting to wrap their minds round the first payment of up to $1,200 per person and $500 more per “child” dependent. Navigating the eligibility guidelines concerning dependents is a winding highway, and for fogeys in conditions the place youngster help is concerned, a improper flip may price you. 

It is not simply sufficient to qualify for the first or second payment, if a new federal bill is approved. There are particular guidelines that apply to youngster help. These apply to the mother and father who owe it, and likewise those who obtain the cost.

For instance, some mother and father who owed a debt for unpaid youngster help wound up not solely having their very own stimulus checks garnished, however some or all of their present partner’s $1,200 was taken as effectively. On the opposite finish of the spectrum, some mother and father who’re separated or divorced however preserve joint custody have truly gotten two $500 checks per youngster, one for every mother or father. Then there’s the difficulty of determining if the improper mother or father bought the dependent test.

We’ll let you know what you want to find out about how the primary spherical of checks for youngster dependents was processed and what that may imply for any future stimulus check, each time that payment could arrive. (Here is who did not count as a dependent for the primary test, and how stimulus totals are calculated.)


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


Stimulus checks could be garnished 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 lined by these protections was overdue youngster help, also referred to as “arrears” or “arrearage.” For those who owe more than $150 in arrears, your state might reserve the appropriate to garnish some or all your first stimulus test, based mostly on how a lot you owe. 

And when you’re owed youngster help, it’s possible you’ll obtain cash garnished out of your kid’s different mother or father, though how lengthy it takes to get you relies on plenty of elements (the cash has to course of by the state, which can then concern it to you).

The following spherical of stimulus checks might or is probably not garnished

Relying on which language is integrated into the subsequent stimulus invoice — 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 shouldn’t be legislation, particularly prohibited lowering 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 underneath negotiation in Washington stands on the matter.

How you can recoup cash taken out of your partner’s test


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

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Though states had the appropriate to garnish CARES Act stimulus test cash from mother and father 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 shouldn’t be the kid’s mother or father, and past-due youngster help was deducted from funds meant on your present partner, the IRS directed taxpayers in August to fill out a Form 8379 (PDF) as a way to obtain a alternative test. Nonetheless, since then, the company says it’s sifting through to find such errors and might be issuing alternative 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.

What if the $500 went to the mother or father who’s owed youngster help?

More often than not — however not at all times — the noncustodial mother or father pays youngster help to the custodial mother or father, who possible claims the child on their taxes. Typically, nevertheless, youngster help is owed even when mother and father share custody (when one mother or father earns considerably greater than the opposite, for instance). In a lot of these instances — however, once more, not all — mother and father alternate claiming the kid on their taxes (one in odd years, the opposite in even years, for instance).

In conditions like these, it is attainable that the $500 stimulus funds for dependents may very well be despatched to the mother or father who’s owed again youngster help whereas the one who owes receives nothing. If that occurs, the mother or father who didn’t obtain the cash can claim it on their 2020 tax return and obtain it together with any refund due in 2021, in keeping with 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).


For those who need assistance determining dependent funds, attempt contacting the IRS straight.

Angela Lang/PJDM

Here is the place to go when you need assistance figuring this out

Like something having to do with taxes, these things can get complicated fairly shortly. For those who need assistance and haven’t got an accountant on retainer to help you, you possibly can attempt on the lookout 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 possibly can 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 whenever you may get a second stimulus test with our stimulus timeline here.

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Dale Smith