Will You Get a $600 Tax Refund if You Didn’t Get Your Stimulus Check? It’s Not That Simple. | Smart Change: Personal Finance

Image source: Getty Images.

Why you can’t bank on getting that $600

A tax credit is a dollar for dollar reduction of your tax liability, so if you claim a $600 credit for the stimulus payment you never received, you’ll automatically shave $600 off of your tax burden. But one thing you need to remember is that your $600 credit is applied to your total tax liability. If you end up owing the IRS $600 for underpaying your 2020 taxes, a $600 credit for a missed stimulus payment will wipe out that debt, but then you won’t be in line for a $600 refund. Rather, you’ll simply owe nothing and the IRS won’t owe you anything either.

Furthermore, it’s possible to be owed that $600 but still wind up having to write the IRS a check during tax season. For example, if you underpaid your 2020 taxes by $1,000 but are due $600 in stimulus cash, you’ll still have to send the IRS $400.

Now you may be thinking, “But so many people got their $600 stimulus checks, so even if I owe money, shouldn’t the IRS send me my $600 in refund form?”

But remember, at the end of the day, that stimulus payment doesn’t cancel out tax liabilities. If you underpaid your 2020 taxes by $1,000 and got your $600 check in the mail, you’d need to write out a $1,000 check at tax time. If you didn’t get your $600 check in the mail and you owe that same $1,000, you’d only pay the IRS $400. In other words, either way, things will even out, and you won’t lose out on any money by virtue of not having gotten your stimulus via direct deposit or in the mail.