Answers about the Stimulus Checks and the Coronavirus Pandemic

Facebook icon Twitter icon Print icon Email icon
Mark Kantrowitz

By Mark Kantrowitz

April 27, 2020

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. During our webinar about the Impact of Coronavirus on Paying for College, participants asked dozens of questions. Here are the answers to these questions on the stimulus check.

What about the 23-year-old who graduated in 2019, who was claimed as a dependent in 2019, but will NOT be able to be claimed as a dependent on the 2020 federal income taxes?

They are eligible for a recovery rebate, but they might not receive a stimulus check now. The recovery rebate is an advanced refund of a refund from your 2020 federal income tax return. Receipt of the recovery rebate check now depends on your 2019 federal income tax returns.

Because the IRS just sees that the student was claimed as a dependent on the 2019 federal income tax return, they don’t have any way of determining that the student will be eligible for the recovery rebate in 2020. Try visiting the IRS Get My Payment web site, but it doesn’t seem to be flexible enough to handle this situation.

However, when you file your 2020 federal income tax return, you’ll get the rebate as a tax credit on the 2020 federal income tax return.

Wouldn’t it be better for the parents to not claim the college student on their tax return and ergo the student could receive the $1,200?

Eligibility for the recovery rebate is based on whether the student can be claimed on someone else’s federal income tax return, not whether they are claimed. Thus, voluntarily not claiming the student on the parent’s federal income tax return will not make the student eligible for the recovery rebate.

If the student is under age 24, they are not eligible for the recovery rebate regardless of whether you claim them or not. The parents are also not eligible for the $500 if their student is 17 years old or older.


A good place to start:

See the best 529 plans, personalized for you