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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone, I searched the forum but couldn't find a situation that is identical to mine.

I'm an expat American living in France for over a decade now. I received the first Trump check last autumn (banked already), did not receive the 2nd $600 check, but did receive the 3rd check yesterday for $1400 (which I haven't cashed yet). I have been filing American tax returns since I moved here. However, the past three years I have been unemployed, but have dutifully continued to file the 1040EZ form as I thought was required of all Americans worldwide. So in other words zero income was reported for 2018/2019/2020.

So I contacted the IRS directly about the missing 2nd payment for $600. According to them, I was not eligible to receive any of the payments (then why did they send me checks 1 and 3?), because my income situation meant that I was not required to file a tax return, contrary to what I've always heard. She said to contact my local authorities about my tax situation - as if France is an overseas American territory. I left it at that, but wonder if they are now going to ask for the payment 1 money back. And wonder what would happen if I tried to cash the check that arrived yesterday, after being informed by them today that I wasn't eligible in the first place.

Seems to me that the low/no income people who are not required to file need the money the most. How is this situation possible?

Would appreciate any advice from anyone who would know if the IRS operator I spoke to is right and how to proceed if she is wrong. Thanks.

TJ
 

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If you didn't get the first or second Economic Impact Payment to claim it now you must file a 2020 tax return, even if you aren't otherwise required to file.

This is because the CARES Act (EIP 1) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act (EIP 2) only allowed direct payments to be distributed up to 31 December 2020.
 

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Boy, the IRS agent really knew her stuff. She was dead wrong.

Until November last year there was a special online form available for "non-filers" to receive the benefit. Anyone whose income was below the filing threshold used this form to submit their SSN, address and bank details for direct deposit (US routing numbers only).

How you now file to receive the missing second cheque, to which you are entitled, is a question for someone else to answer.
 

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How you now file to receive the missing second cheque, to which you are entitled, is a question for someone else to answer.
You file the same way that someone over the filing threshold would be required to file. Just need to ensure that you complete Line 30 correctly to claim the second EIP amount.

If you want to e-file, you may need to add $1 of taxable income as other income... many efile providers won't allow you to file if your taxable income is zero.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you didn't get the first or second Economic Impact Payment to claim it now you must file a 2020 tax return, even if you aren't otherwise required to file.

This is because the CARES Act (EIP 1) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act (EIP 2) only allowed direct payments to be distributed up to 31 December 2020.
Thank you for your helpful reply. I did file for 2020, claiming zero income. I can't recall seeing any provision on the 1040EZ form for claiming any Covid economic impact payment however.

Maybe I haven't received the 2nd payment based on some obscure procedural error.

In any case, I'm going to bank the 3rd payment since I think it's a pretty clear case that I'm entitled to the payments. Just seems like a classic bureaucratic catch-22 situation - in order to claim you need to have filed a tax return, but if you're below a certain income you're not required to file one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You file the same way that someone over the filing threshold would be required to file. Just need to ensure that you complete Line 30 correctly to claim the second EIP amount.

If you want to e-file, you may need to add $1 of taxable income as other income... many efile providers won't allow you to file if your taxable income is zero.
Thanks for your reply. I did file the 1040EZ form in March for 2020. It was the standard mail-in form. Maybe I filled some detail in incorrectly and some procedural error is preventing me from receiving the 2nd check. Then why did I receive the 3rd check just the other day? I'm going to cash that anyway, since it looks like I'm clearly entitled to these payments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Boy, the IRS agent really knew her stuff. She was dead wrong.

Until November last year there was a special online form available for "non-filers" to receive the benefit. Anyone whose income was below the filing threshold used this form to submit their SSN, address and bank details for direct deposit (US routing numbers only).

How you now file to receive the missing second cheque, to which you are entitled, is a question for someone else to answer.
Thanks for taking the time to reply. It's probably some minor procedural filing error that's causing the snag. Any tiny deviation from their immensely complex rules seems to bring their system to a halt. I'll cash the 3rd check and wait and see what happens. Who knows though, they may have already put a block on it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Form 1040-EZ doesn't exist any more.. you need to use either the standard 1040 or 1040-SR.
You're right, just referred to it as the EZ form out of past habit. It was the 1040 standard mail-in form I filed in mid-March. I really think it's the fact that I declared zero income across the board which is causing the problem, since it put me in the "not required to file" category. This probably invalidated my return, so couldn't be used as a basis for sending the 2nd payment I'm missing. Still doesn't explain why I got the 3rd check...bureaucratic snafu...again.
 

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TJohn -- If you failed to complete line 30 on your 2020 IRS form 1040 (to capture one of the first two stimulus payments,) as @Moulard mentioned, you now need to complete an amended return (1040-X,) to capture the missing stimulus payment. By the way, the first payment was for $1,200, the second was for $600 (both for 2020,) and the third was for $1,400 (2021.) Cheers, 255
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
TJohn -- If you failed to complete line 30 on your 2020 IRS form 1040 (to capture one of the first two stimulus payments,) as @Moulard mentioned, you now need to complete an amended return (1040-X,) to capture the missing stimulus payment. By the way, the first payment was for $1,200, the second was for $600 (both for 2020,) and the third was for $1,400 (2021.) Cheers, 255
Many thanks 255. A lot of helpful people on here. Expats are good company to be in. What's baffling is that I did receive the 3rd check but not the 2nd. I assume both 2nd and 3rd check were based on the same 1040. Maybe two different handlers perceived the same for differently. I didn't know about the 1040-x, I'll give that a go and make sure line 30 is completed. All the best, TJ
 

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Just seems like a classic bureaucratic catch-22 situation - in order to claim you need to have filed a tax return, but if you're below a certain income you're not required to file one.
That's not really a Catch-22 though. It would be a proper Catch-22 if below a certain income you were not allowed to file, as opposed to merely not required to file.
 

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TJohn -- The reference to line 30 was for IRS form 1040, not 1040-X. In any event, you need to complete the "Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet," on page 59 of the "IRS Tax Year 2020 1040 and 1040-SR Instructions (the result that would have been entered on line 30 of IRS form 1040.) 2020 Instruction 1040 (irs.gov)

On IRS form 1040-X, you'll utilize line 15, to make your corrections. Form 1040-X (Rev. January 2020) (irs.gov) You will also need to complete PART III of the form to explain your changes (the 1040-X is a "catch all" form for any 1040 changes.)

For your reference: Instructions for Form 1040-X (Rev. January 2020) (irs.gov) Cheers, 255
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's not really a Catch-22 though. It would be a proper Catch-22 if below a certain income you were not allowed to file, as opposed to merely not required to file.
That's not really a Catch-22 though. It would be a proper Catch-22 if below a certain income you were not allowed to file, as opposed to merely not required to file.
You have a better grasp of the term than I do! The IRS operator made it sound like I was violating some kind of rule in submitting the return when I wasn't required to, and therefore the return was null and void. Hence the ineligibility for the payments, full stop. I have a feeling I was talking to someone who deals with domestic enquiries only, since I used an 800 number from overseas via Skype.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
TJohn -- The reference to line 30 was for IRS form 1040, not 1040-X. In any event, you need to complete the "Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet," on page 59 of the "IRS Tax Year 2020 1040 and 1040-SR Instructions (the result that would have been entered on line 30 of IRS form 1040.) 2020 Instruction 1040 (irs.gov)

On IRS form 1040-X, you'll utilize line 15, to make your corrections. Form 1040-X (Rev. January 2020) (irs.gov) You will also need to complete PART III of the form to explain your changes (the 1040-X is a "catch all" form for any 1040 changes.)

For your reference: Instructions for Form 1040-X (Rev. January 2020) (irs.gov) Cheers, 255
Thanks again 555 for the effort in providing these very useful details. The IRS didn't give any advice whatsoever. I'll follow through on your suggestion. The woman I spoke only seemed to be able to deal with straightforward inquiries, any deviation and she seemed lost. You appear to know more about the system than they do!
 
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