March 07, 2021

COVID aid mark III is coming. What you need to know and how to prepare.

Democrats Abroad continues to receive messages with questions about pandemic aid and how to access it.  If you have questions we encourage you to read on and also to:

  1. review our past postings about accessing the first two aid programs and about how to cash a U.S. government check from abroad;
  2. view a recording of our webinar about the second round of COVID aid; and
  3. consider attending one of these upcoming tax webinars being hosted by DA Country Committees. 

The next (third) round of pandemic aid for individuals is coming as part of the American Rescue Plan, which was passed in the Senate this past weekend.  The bill is widely expected to be passed by the House and signed by President Biden by the end of the week commencing Monday March 8. 

We think this is the best reporting on the American Rescue Plan aid to individuals, or Economic Impact Payment 3 (EIP3) e.g. eligibility; how to get the $1,400 payment; how and when it will come.  Read on for further advice on positioning yourself to receive EIP3 as quickly as possible.

Preparing for EIP3

If you think you are or may be eligible for EIP3, this information may be helpful to you in getting the aid more quickly:

  • Check the Get My Payment website for information about how to get EIP1 and EIP2 by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax filing.  We also encourage you to check the Get My Payment online tool to see if the IRS has updates on your filing or aid payment status.  Many with foreign addresses report they have been unable to use the tool, but it is worth a try.
  • Provide the IRS with a U.S. bank account for forwarding payment. You can do that on the Get My Payment online tool or on your 2020 tax filing. If you do not have a U.S. bank account there are commercial, for-profit providers of online U.S. bank accounts.  Also the State Department Federal Credit Union will allow Americans without a U.S. address to open a bank account from abroad for the price of membership in American Citizens Abroad.  It may be worth your while.
  • Efile your 2020 return. We understand the IRS still has an enormous backlog of unprocessed 2019 paper returns; they have been awaiting IRS attention since the Service was forced by the pandemic to furlough employees and have many others work from home.  Your 2020 income may change your eligibility for EIP3 if your 2018 and 2019 income placed you out of eligibility for EIP1 and EIP2.  Efile your 2020 return ASAP.  It may not be too late. 
  • Consider one of the efiling services available through the IRS FreeFile program.  Each system provider has its own eligibility criteria.  You can research the IRS FreeFile program and the product offerings of each FreeFile system provider at this IRS website.
  • Consider engaging a professional tax return preparer who will be able to efile for you.  We recommend the ACA Expat Tax Services Directory published by our friends at American Citizens Abroad, which includes in-person U.S. tax preparation service providers in many areas of the world, as well as online tax return preparers.

Come back to the webpage for further updates.