October 23, 2020
Stimulus check: What is your AGI and how could it affect another payment?

Stimulus check: What is an AGI and what does it have to do with another payment?


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Your AGI is crucial to your taxes and to your stimulus check, too.


James Martin/CNET

The first stimulus check and the second direct payment under current negotiation have many commonalities. One of them is the importance of your taxes on how much money you might receive and if you’re eligible to begin with. Specifically, these calculations and requirements draw on your adjusted gross income, or AGI, from your 2019 federal tax filing

Since the second stimulus check is shaping up to follow the basic guidelines set for the first, we have a strong understanding of the role your AGI will play — and where exactly to find it on your tax forms.

While you’re here, try our stimulus check calculator for an estimate of how much you could receive, brush up on the definition of who counts as a dependent on your taxes and learn the most important things to know about stimulus checks.

What is your 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. 


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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 in to 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 in 2019

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. 

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’ 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. 

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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 use your AGI to figure out how much stimulus money you could get in a second check

Should another economic relief package 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. 

If another relief package followed the same guidelines for stimulus checks as the March CARES Act did, single taxpayers with a Social Security number and an AGI under $75,000 would receive the full amount of $1,200. As your AGI goes up, the amount you’d be eligible to get decreases. If your AGI is $99,000 or above, you wouldn’t be eligible for the stimulus check. But again, this assumes that the eligibility rules stay the same.

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

If you’re a married couple filing jointly without children and your AGI is below $150,000, you’d get a $2,400 payment. That amount would decrease until you hit $198,000, at which point you would not be 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 could 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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