The Brightside Stimulus Primer, part II

After our webinar last week on the new stimulus bill, a lot of you reached out to your Brightside Financial Assistants with some additional questions. We’ve rounded up the most common ones below.

This bill is such a massive piece of legislation that no one has really figured out all the implications yet. We’re following all the news and guidance up to the minute and will be updating this page accordingly.

In the meantime, if you have questions we haven’t answered yet—or if you want to dig deeper on any of the topics we’ve already discussed—please reach out to your FA today. Unlike most people, you have access to a certified financial professional who can walk you through exactly what this stimulus bill can mean for you!

I didn’t receive earlier stimulus payments, but I think I may qualify. What should I do?

Congress has passed three rounds of stimulus checks since the start of the pandemic. The two earlier rounds of payments were sent directly to most people who qualified. But millions still have not received them. 

To receive the full payments for the first two rounds, you must file your 2020 taxes, even if you’re not otherwise obligated to file. Your Financial Assistant can help you locate tax preparation services, including free options for households that qualify.

How can I tell if I received the full amount for the first two rounds of stimulus payments?

Your Financial Assistant can help you navigate the IRS’s website to check their records for payments that have been sent to you. (Or look for IRS Notices 1444 and 1444-B you may have received by mail.)

I cannot afford tax preparation services. Is there any help available?

Your Financial Assistant can help you and your family find free human tax assistance through the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs. VITA and TCE have reduced capacity this year due to the pandemic, but there are virtual sites available. To qualify for VITA, you must meet the following criteria: Make $57,000 or less; have disabilities; or have limited English. TCE is for people who are 60 or older.

Your Financial Assistant can also help you choose an online tax service from the IRS’s Free File program. Free File is a free way to file taxes online without human assistance using nationally recognized tax software brands. The tax software provides guidance and will do the math for you. Households with income $72,000 and below qualify.

Is the child and dependent care tax credit the same as my dependent care FSA?

The child and dependent care tax credit mentioned in the video is NOT the same as a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA). If you receive dependent care benefits through your employer, your dollar limit for the purposes of the credit may be reduced. Talk to your Financial Assistant to get personalized education about the changes in the $1.9 trillion stimulus.