Here’s When — and How — to Expect Your Next Stimulus Check

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Now that President Joe Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan Act — the law that authorizes the third round of stimulus payments — the IRS can start issuing those payments.

You could receive your third and biggest stimulus payment as early as this weekend, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press conference after the bill signing this afternoon.

That timeline comes the day after the White House announced that the government is “working to ensure that we will be able to start getting payments out this month.”

The IRS showed with the second round of stimulus payments that it is capable of a prompt start. The federal agency began issuing the second round much faster than the first — on Dec. 29, the second business day after the signing of the law that authorized the second round of payments.

Of course, just because the IRS’ past performance indicates your third stimulus payment could arrive in a matter of days doesn’t necessarily mean it will.

The legislation that authorized the second round of payments required that those payments be sent by Jan. 15, 2021. The American Rescue Plan Act technically gives the IRS until as late as Dec. 31, 2021, to issue the third round of payments.

Additionally, the American Rescue Plan Act was passed smack in the middle of federal income tax season. And this season, the IRS reportedly is struggling to issue some folks’ tax refunds on schedule.

For a more precise timeline for the third round of economic impact payments, as the IRS calls them, keep an eye on IRS.gov. The agency said in a statement Wednesday:

“The IRS is reviewing implementation plans for the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 that was recently passed by Congress. Additional information about a new round of Economic Impact Payments and other details will be made available on IRS.gov, once the legislation has been signed by the President.”

How to expect your third stimulus payment

The White House’s announcement Wednesday also noted that the government aims to issue more stimulus payments via direct deposit this time around, as it’s “substantially faster than checks.”

If your latest tax return contained direct deposit or bank account information, the IRS will be able to issue your third stimulus payment electronically, the White House said. If the Treasury can’t determine your bank account, expect to receive your third payment via paper check or debit card.

You can find out if your latest return contains direct deposit or bank account information by looking at the “Refund” section on the second page. Specifically, check lines 35b, 35c and 35d on the 2020 tax return form or lines 21b, 21c and 21d on the 2019 return.

(The IRS will go by your 2020 federal income tax return if you have filed it already. Otherwise, it will go by your 2019 return.)

To learn more about the third round of stimulus payments and the legislation that authorized them, check out:

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