Four thousand U.S. dollars are counted out by a banker at a bank in Westminster
The U.S. Secret Service previously said nearly $100 billion in COVID stimulus funds have been stolen by fraudsters. In photo: four thousand U.S. dollars are counted out by a banker counting currency at a bank in Westminster, Colorado November 3, 2009. Reuters / Rick Wilking


  • Americans who received a letter from the IRS need to file a tax form to claim their stimulus payments
  • An eligible taxpayer may receive up to $1,400 in stimulus money under the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit
  • Households could also receive up to $3,600 for each qualifying child under the enhanced Child Tax Credit

Millions of Americans only have until Thursday to claim thousands in stimulus checks and other federal government benefits before the IRS closes the filing site.

In October, the IRS began sending out letters to Americans who have yet to claim stimulus checks, Child Tax Credit payments and Earned Income Tax Credit payments owed to them, as per a news release published on the department's website.

"The IRS wants to remind potentially eligible people, especially families, that they may qualify for these valuable tax credits," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in the news release. "We encourage people who haven't filed a tax return yet for 2021 to review these options. Even if they aren't required to file a tax return, they may still qualify for several important credits."

Americans who received the letter only have until Thursday, Nov. 17, to file a tax form and claim their money. The IRS will be closing the filing website at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 18.

The letter was sent to at least nine million Americans who were not required to file taxes due to their low incomes. Typically, these individuals are single taxpayers under 65 making less than $12,550 a year and individual filers over 65 earning $14,250 annually.

How much will Americans receive from the IRS?

The amount of money Americans may receive from the IRS varies depending on the tax credits. People who received the letters may qualify for one or all of the tax credits, including the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.

Under the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, single taxpayers making less than $75,000 and married couples earning less than $150,000 could receive the full amount of $1,400 for each eligible person. Each qualifying child listed on the tax return will also receive $1,400. This means a family of four could get as much as $5,600 in stimulus payments.

The enhanced Child Tax Credit, expanded through President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, sent out up to $3,600 for each qualifying child under the age of 6.

Biden's American Rescue Plan also had provisions that boosted the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), allowing childless low-income workers to claim up to $1,502 in tax credits. The law also allowed parents with three children to claim as much as $6,728.

To be eligible to claim the EITC, an individual must be making under $21,430, while married couples filing jointly should be earning less than $27,380.

Representation. A COVID-19 stimulus check. Pixabay