The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reminding qualified college students that it’s not too late to register for a stimulus check. If you are a self-supporting student and don’t need to file a tax return, you have until November 21 to register to get your stimulus check (also called an Economic Impact Payment, or EIP) by the end of the year.
“The IRS is working hard with our partners across the country to raise awareness about the upcoming deadline to register for a payment,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “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.”
Dependents Do Not Qualify
Not sure if that means you? Dependent students do not qualify for a check. If your parents claim you as a dependent – or if someone else, like a spouse or significant other claims you – you are not eligible for a payment.
Who qualifies as a dependent? For purposes of the stimulus check, a dependent is a qualifying child or qualifying relative. The IRS clarifies, at Pub 501, that a qualifying child meets the following criteria:
- The child must be your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendant of any of them.
- The child must be (a) under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly), (b) under age 24 at the end of the year, a student, and younger than you (or your spouse if filing jointly), or (c) any age if permanently and totally disabled.
- The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year (some exceptions apply, including for school and the military).
- The child must not have provided more than half of his or her own support for the year.
- The child must not be filing a joint return for the year (unless that joint return is filed only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid).
Realistically, many high school seniors, college students, and adult children living at home don’t provide more than half of their own support. Many rely on their parents to pay their expenses, including health care. If that’s the case, that makes them – for tax purposes – a dependent so long as the other criteria apply.
(If you’re not sure whether a child provided more than half of his or her own support, you may find this IRS Worksheet helpful.)
If, however, a student or other adult child does not qualify as a dependent, they may be eligible for a check.
So, what about recent graduates who might have been a dependent before, but aren’t in 2020? The IRS reminds you that some recent college graduates from 2019 and 2020 may not have received a check because they were previously claimed as a dependent by their parents or someone else. But, these graduates they may be eligible for a check when they file their 2020 tax return in early 2021.
How To Register To Get A Stimulus Check
If you qualify but you don’t normally file a tax return, you’ll need to register. To register for your payment as a non-filer, simply click over to the IRS website and use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool. There is no cost to register. You can speed up your check’s arrival by choosing to receive it by direct deposit; if you don’t opt for direct deposit, you’ll get a paper check by mail.
If you cannot use the tool or don’t have adequate access to the internet, you can file a federal income tax return for 2019 with the IRS even if you receive non-taxable income or do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return. The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically through their tax preparer, tax software provider, or IRS Free File.
But file soon: the tool will not be available after November 21.
Who Shouldn’t Use The Tool?
If you either need to or want to file a regular tax return, you should not use the Non-Filers tool. This includes, for example, those who had federal income tax withheld from their pay (like those of you who work part-time or only in summer) and want to file a return to claim a tax refund.
Track The Status Of Your Payment
If you’re anxious to receive your check, you will be able to monitor its progress. Beginning two weeks after you register, you can track the status of their payment using the Get My Payment tool, available only on IRS.gov.
National EIP Registration Day
The push to get the word out coincides with the run up to “National EIP Registration Day” on November 10. The event is intended to serve as a final push for those who don’t normally file a tax return to register to receive a stimulus check.
“National EIP Registration Day” will feature support from IRS partner groups inside and outside of the tax community, including those that work with low-income and underserved communities. Many of those groups have been working with the IRS, helping translate and making available stimulus check information and resources in 35 languages. For more information, check out irs.gov.