In March 2021, Congress authorized a third round of stimulus payments of up
to $1,400 per household member—including adults, children, adult dependents
like college students and elderly relatives. These payments aren’t taxable, and
overpayments don’t need to be returned to the IRS in most cases.
Some of these were “top-up” payments for people who received an amount based on their 2019 income and then qualified for more based on 2020 returns they filed in 2021. That
could be, for example, because of a job loss or the birth of a child in 2020.
Because the stimulus payments were structured as an advance payment of a
tax credit for 2021, taxpayers can also qualify based on their 2021 income and
family situation if they haven’t received payments or are eligible for more. These
amounts are claimed as a Recovery Rebate Credit on line 30 of Form 1040; the
instructions have a worksheet to determine the correct amount.