The news that Congress has finalized an agreement on a new stimulus deal could prove to be a boon to the nation’s college students.
The new coronavirus recovery bill is set to include stimulus payments of $600 for every eligible taxpayer. If they qualify, students who have not applied for their first stimulus check of $1,200 under the CARES Act could receive up to $1,800 in relief money this year.
This would certainly be a timely gift for the holiday season during a raging pandemic.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig released a statement in November urging students who qualify as adult taxpayers to look into applying for these relief checks.
“College students in particular should be careful not to overlook these payments if they’re supporting themselves and can’t be claimed as a dependent on someone’s tax returns. A few minutes of research could really help students.”
CARES Act and College Students
Under the CARES Act, a college student does not have to be currently enrolled to qualify. It is only necessary to be an adult taxpayer. Also, if you haven’t recently paid taxes don’t fret; “qualifying” as a taxpayer only means that you are not being claimed in another person’s (such as a parent’s) tax return.
If you are responsible for more than half of your own support and you can’t be claimed as a dependent. Therefore, you qualify.
Many university-age college students fit this profile but are still unaware that they qualified for the first stimulus check and, indeed, the latest stimulus payment.
Applying for First Covid Stimulus Check
It is not too late to claim the stimulus payment if you are one of the students described. Qualifying students can apply for the first round of relief payments through something called a Recovery Rebate Credit with their 2020 tax returns.
They can receive as much as $1,200 per person or $2,400 for a married couple, either lowering their taxes owed or increasing their refund. The IRS explains how to do this on their website.
The IRS had offered a separate online tool for those who don’t file a tax return to apply for the first Covid stimulus, but that tool was discontinued in November. It is not yet known whether the online tool will be provided again for a second stimulus payment.