IRS Stimulus Check Letter: How to Handle It on Your Taxes

You’ll need the info in IRS Letter 6475 to see if you qualify for more stimulus money.

Angela Lang/CNET

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The IRS sent the third stimulus check payment to most Americans between March 2021 and January 2022. Now that income taxes are due, you’ll need to report that money on your 2021 tax return to see if you qualify for more with the recovery rebate credit.

If you had a new baby or added qualifying children to your family in 2021, you’re due another $1,400 for each additional kid. Likewise, if your income dropped considerably last year, you could be owed more money in your tax refund. To claim any of that additional stimulus money, you’ll need a specific letter from the IRS.

Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Payment was mailed to recipients of the third stimulus check starting in late January and is considered the official record of your 2021 stimulus payments. It includes the total amount of your third stimulus check and any “plus-up” payments you may have received.

The stimulus payments aren’t considered taxable income and don’t need to be included on your taxes if you don’t think you qualify for more money. However, if you’re not sure, complete the Recovery Rebate Worksheet using Letter 6475 to find out.

Read on to learn how to make sure you get all the stimulus money you are eligible for. Also, learn how parents can claim the expanded child tax credit and when to file your taxes this year.

What is IRS Letter 6475?

“The Economic Impact Payment letters include important information that can help people quickly and accurately file their tax return,” the IRS said in a January release, including personal information — like your name and address — and the total amount sent in your third stimulus payment.

This could include “plus-up” payments, the additional funds the IRS sent to people who were eligible for a larger amount based on their 2019 or 2020 tax returns, or information received from the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs or the Railroad Retirement Board.

You may have already received a Letter 1444-C, which showed the amount you were paid and how it was delivered, but that’s not what you want to use to prepare your 2021 return.

Do I really need the letter?

You should always save tax return-related documents, says Mark Steber, chief tax information officer at Jackson Hewitt. W-2s, interest statements and IRS letters are a good record of your account “in case anything comes along in the next two or three years,” he says.

“It’s always important, but especially important if you’re due more money — particularly if you had a new baby, adopted a child, fostered a child, it’s your year for split shared custody or any number of additional life changes,” Steber told CNET. “All of these situations would lend themselves to an additional payment.” 

What do I do with Letter 6475?

If you are using a professional tax preparer, provide Letter 6475 to them with all of your other applicable tax documents. If you’re preparing your own tax return, use the amount shown in Letter 6475 in the Recovery Rebate Worksheet to determine if any credit applies. The Recovery Rebate Worksheet is included in the instructions for IRS Form 1040 and usually calculated automatically by tax preparation software.

“Having the wrong amount on your return could trigger a manual review,” according to the H&R Block website, which could delay a refund for weeks.

What if I never got Letter 6475 or I lost it?

If you never received a third stimulus check, the IRS didn’t send you Letter 6475. If you were eligible and didn’t get a payment in 2021, you can get those funds now by claiming the recovery rebate tax credit on your 2021 tax return.

If you did get a third stimulus check but never received Letter 6475 or you lost it, you can find the information about the amount of your economic impact payments using your online IRS account. After you log in, click the View Tax Records link and then the plus sign next to 2021 under Economic Impact Payment Information.