A common question we get is whether a taxpayer’s dependent child will get an advance stimulus check in 2020. The recent IRS guidance was not clear as to this answer, so here is the answer. Unfortunately, the new law specifically excludes anyone who is a dependent from getting the advance stimulus check.
A dependent is a child under the age of 19 at the end of the year, who lives with you for more than half of the year, has not provided more than half of his or her own support for the year, and who does not file a joint return. A full-time student under the age of 24 is also your dependent, even if they live mostly at college if they don’t provide more than half their support and do not file a joint tax return.
Can you get around this rule and not claim them as a dependent? Unfortunately, no. As long as your child meets the legal definition of a dependent, they still won’t qualify for a stimulus check.
The only exception could be your child who qualified as a dependent on your 2018 or 2019 return, and who no longer qualifies as a dependent in 2020 and files their own tax return in 2021. In this case, he or she will get the $1,200. Remember, this “stimulus check” is an advance on a new tax credit that appears on the 2020 tax returns. If your child qualifies for the credit based on the facts and circumstances in 2020 (i.e. he or she is no longer a dependent), then your child will get the $1,200 credited to their tax return on the 2020 return.