Are Stimulus Checks Taxable?

In the United States, if you receive a stimulus check from the government, are they taxable? 

If you’re like most people who have received them in the past, then your first instinct is probably to think that they are. After all, it’s called a “stimulus” check for a reason right? It should be taxed right? I mean it’s not an actual paycheck or anything…

You can find the answer here. It’s not a simple yes or no answer though, so keep reading for details about your particular situation.

Are stimulus cheques taxable? Stimulus cheques are taxable depending upon the nature of disbursement. So you should keep the receipt for filing your income tax properly. It will help you calculate the amount of income tax payable on income derived from the stimulus cheque.

Are Stimulus Checks Taxable?

The stimulus payment, also known as an economic impact payment, is a tax credit in disguise. However, this isn’t always recognized. Some people believe that the IRS will raise your income by this amount, resulting in a larger tax payment, or decrease your tax refund when you submit your return the following year. Neither is accurate, but there are a few things to consider.

Let’s talk about the recent third stimulus payment given to taxpayers in order to understand it better.

  • A tax break is a beneficial thing in the tax realm. It lowers your income, lowering your tax liability.
  • If you had $50,000 in earnings and a $5,000 tax deduction, your deduction would lower your taxable income by $5,000. If you were in the 12 percent tax bracket and had a $600 reduction.
  • A tax deduction is helpful, but a tax credit is significantly more beneficial. A tax credit equals a reduction in your taxes dollar for dollar. Your federal income taxes drop from $1,500 to $500 if you earn a $1,000 tax credit.
  • A tax credit that may be refunded is a marvel. A basic tax credit can lower your tax burden to nothing, but it cannot transform an existing tax liability into a tax refund, while refundable tax credits can.

Because you’ll receive a refundable tax credit now in the form of a third stimulus payment rather than waiting to get the money from the credit on your 2021 tax return, you’re effectively obtaining an early refundable tax credit.

So, the tax nature of stimulus checks depends upon the disbursement nature by IRS.

Calculating Taxes On Stimulus Checks

The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 (HR 1424) was passed to stimulate the economy and shield consumers from the effects of a failing economy. This act included economic stimulus payments that were sent directly to taxpayers.

However, unlike normal year-end tax deductions, these payments did not require any taxes to be paid at the time they were received. Instead, the taxpayer was allowed to claim them at a later date during tax season.

If you receive stimulus payments in the form of electronic funds transfers (EFTs), they are considered taxable income.

Stimulus checks are taxable income if they are transferred to your checking account after you receive them, which is the likely scenario for most taxpayers.

This is because stimulus payments are not taxed at the time of receipt unless you elect to have federal withholding tax deducted from your payment by completing IRS form W-4V and returning it to the agency.

For example, say your tax refund for last year was $3,000 and you received an EFT deposit of $500 in stimulus funds this year. You would still get a tax refund of $3,000, but now you would claim $500 in stimulus funds as additional income for this year.

How To File Stimulus Checks On Your Federal Taxes?

If you receive stimulus payments in the form of paper checks, they are not considered taxable income for this year.

You may choose to include them on your return next year or treat them as a payment that reduces your tax refund or increases the amount owed on next year’s taxes if it is advantageous for you to do so. The decision is up to you.

Paper checks can be banked without any tax liability or federal withholding, but if you choose to deposit the check and consider it payment for this year’s taxes, remember that doing so will result in a lower return next year.

For example, let’s say you receive a stimulus payment of $3,000 and your tax return is being refunded by the federal government for the same amount.

If you deposit your stimulus funds into your checking account then you will have to claim that money as taxable income when preparing your federal taxes the following year.

This means that whether or not stimulus checks are taxable depends upon how they were sent to you by the federal government.

If the stimulus payment is in the form of an electronic funds transfer (EFT) then they are considered to be taxable income. In this case, you would have to pay taxes on the EFT at the end of your tax year when preparing your yearly federal tax return.

The amount that you owe in taxes on a stimulus check will vary depending upon how much you receive and whether or not you have a qualified deduction.

If the EFT is sent directly to your checking account without any taxes being withheld then you will be required to fill out form 1040, schedule A itemized deductions as “Income”. You would include that amount as income on your tax return for the year.

State Taxes On Stimulus Checks

In 2020, many farmers and other taxpayers received a $1,200 personal stimulus payment, as well as a $600 payment in 2021.

For federal tax purposes, this isn’t taxable income, and no state would consider it to be taxable income. “Gotcha” There is a caveat, though. Most states allow you to deduct all or part of your federal income taxes owing.

Because the stimulus payment is treated as a credit against your federal income tax, it will reduce the amount of federal income tax that may be deducted from your state income tax return.

In 2020, farmers and other taxpayers received a $1,200 personal stimulus payment. In 2021, they received a $600 cash payment.

This is not taxed income for federal tax purposes, and most states will not consider it taxable income. There’s a “gotcha,” however. Most states allow you to deduct all or part of your federal taxes owed.

Since the stimulus payment is considered a credit against your income tax, it will reduce the amount of federal income tax allowed on your state income tax return.

Stimulus Checks During COVID-19 Pandemic

The IRS does not consider stimulus payments under the following as taxable:

  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act),
  • the 2021 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA, Section 314 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021), or the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP)

Stimulus payments will be used to help students and parents with financial difficulties directly linked to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Because stimulus payments are not taxed as income, you won’t include them in your gross income on your tax return or pay taxes on them. “It won’t lower your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 federal income tax return.

Payment will not affect your income for the purpose of determining eligibility for government aid or benefit programs.”


Conclusion paragraph: The stimulus checks are taxable, and the receipt is an important document to keep for tax filing purposes. Depending on how you receive the money, it will be taxed differently.

The stimulus checks were not taxed during the COVID-19 epidemic as it was used to help students and parents with financial difficulties. So make sure you understand the rules and regulations around stimulus disbursements.