October 30, 2020
Stimulus check: What is an AGI and how do you find yours?

Stimulus check: What AGI means on your taxes and how to find yours


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How much stimulus money you may be eligible to receive will depend on this line in your taxes.


James Martin/CNET

Republican and Democratic negotiations continue to remain stalled this week with the Senate adjourned, leaving many financially struggling Americans anxiously waiting to hear if another stimulus package will pass — and with it, a second stimulus check.

Just like the first stimulus check that came with the CARES Act in March, the amount of money you could get under another stimulus act (e.g., the Republican HEALS Act or the Democratic Heroes Act) would be based on your adjusted gross income, or AGI, from your 2019 federal tax filing. (Some people may even get two IRS checks this year even without another direct payment in 2020.)

While the HEALS Act and Heroes Act differ, they both include the same stimulus check provision as the CARES Act did: There’s up to $1,200 for single filers with an AGI of $75,000 per year, or $2,400 for joint filers earning under $125,000 per year. 

Here’s what an AGI is, how to find it and how can you use it to estimate how much money you’ll receive from a second stimulus check, assuming a new bill passes. 

What is an AGI and why do you need it?

Your AGI is your adjusted gross income — a measure of income calculated from your total income to determine how much the government can tax. Your gross income is the sum of all the money you earn in a year, including wages, dividends, alimony, capital gains, interest income, royalties, rental income and retirement distributions. AGI factors in allowable deductions from your gross income (like student loan interest, alimony payments or retirement contributions) to figure out how your income tax will be calculated. Your AGI is reported on IRS tax form 1040. 

Since it’s a rough estimate of how much money you’re bringing in after deductions from all your streams of income, the IRS uses your AGI to calculate how much of the maximum of $1,200 stimulus check you can get. 

How to find your AGI if you filed taxes in 2019

If you filed your 2019 federal tax return, pull out your printed records. If you used tax-filing software like TurboTax or H&R Block, you should be able to log into those accounts to find a copy of your return. 

You’ll find your AGI on line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax form. 

How to find your AGI if you did not file taxes last year

If you didn’t file federal taxes in 2019, you can find your AGI on your 2018 federal tax return. On the 2018 1040 federal tax form, you’ll find your AGI on line 7. 

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An IRS 1040 Individual Income Tax form for the 2018 tax year. You’ll find your AGI on line 7.


Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

How to find your AGI if you don’t have a copy of your tax return

If you just can’t find your tax return, you can find it in two ways:

Method 1: Go to the IRS’s Get Transcript portal, and choose Get Transcript Online. You’ll need your social security number, date of birth, filing status and mailing address from your latest tax return. You’ll also need access to your email, your personal account number from a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan, home equity line of credit or car loan, and a mobile phone with your name on the account. Once your identity is verified, select the Tax Return Transcript and use only the “Adjusted Gross Income” line entry. You’ll be able to view or print your information here. 

Method 2: If you don’t have internet access or the necessary identity verification documents, you can use the Get Transcript portal and choose Get Transcript by Mail, or call 1-800-908-9946 to request a Tax Return Transcript. It’ll take about five to 10 days to be delivered to you. 

How to use your AGI to figure out how much stimulus money you’ll get

Should the HEALS Act pass, how much money you’d get from a second stimulus check depends on your AGI, your filing status (single versus joint) and how many dependents you have. You can check out our story on how to calculate how much money you’d get from a second stimulus check for some examples on how it could break down for you depending on your situation. 

Single taxpayers with a social security number and an AGI under $75,000 will receive the full amount of $1,200. As your AGI goes up, the amount you’re eligible to get decreases. If your AGI is $99,000 or above, you won’t be eligible for the stimulus check. 

If you’re filing as head of a household, you’ll get the full $1,200 check if your AGI is $112,500 or less. The amount will decrease until you reach $146,500, at which point you are not eligible. 


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If you’re a married couple filing jointly without children and your AGI is below $150,000, you’ll get a $2,400 payment. That amount will decrease until you hit $198,000, at which point you’re not eligible for a check. 

The HEALS Act and the Heroes Act differ when it comes to child dependents. If the HEALS Act passes, you can expect to get $500 per dependent. If the Heroes Act passes, you can expect to get $1,200 per dependent, with a maximum of three. 

For more, find out if you’re qualified for a second stimulus check and when you can expect a second stimulus check. If you still haven’t gotten a first stimulus check, you can track the status of your stimulus check, learn how to report your missing check to the IRS and find possible reasons why your stimulus check still hasn’t arrived

Katie Conner contributed to this story.



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