The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 provided $300 billion in direct support through economic impact payments to individuals, including advance tax rebate payments distributed mostly in April 2020. A $1,200 refundable tax credit was provided to individuals ($2,400 for joint taxpayers) that meet specified criteria. In addition, qualified taxpayers with children received $500 for each child. The amount of the rebate phased out after an income threshold of $75,000 for individual filers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for joint taxpayers at 5 percent per dollar of qualified income. The rebate phased out entirely at income exceeding $99,000 for single taxpayers with no children and $198,000 for joint taxpayers with no children. Tax returns for 2019 or 2018 were used to calculate the advance payment to taxpayers, but taxpayers eligible for a larger rebate based on 2020 income will receive the increased amount in 2021 when taxes are filed during the 2020 tax filing season. Taxpayers with higher incomes in 2020 will see any overpayment associated with their rebate forgiven.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 provided a second round of refundable tax credits administered as direct payments to individuals. The direct payments for this second round were for $600 per qualified individual and child and were distributed mostly in January 2021. The advanced tax credits were based on 2019 income and phase out after an income threshold of $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for those married filing jointly. The payments phase out entirely at income exceeding $87,000 for single filers with no qualifying dependents and $174,000 for those married filing jointly with no qualifying dependents. Qualified recipients not receiving the support payment in January 2021 are eligible to claim the credit on their 2020 tax filings.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provided a third round of economic impact payments issued in amounts up to $1,400 for an individual, $2,800 for joint filers, and $1,400 for each qualifying dependent (phasing out after an income threshold of $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers, with a complete phase-out for single filers with income exceeding $80,000 and for joint filers with income exceeding $160,000). Eligible qualifying dependents for this round of payments included full-time students under the age of 24 and adult dependents. The majority of payments were distributed in March 2021 and the IRS will continue to issue payments throughout the year as tax returns are processed.
In the NIPAs, these payments to individuals are recorded as federal social benefit payments to persons (NIPA table 3.2, line 27) and include the total amount of the rebates (both the amount that was paid to persons directly and the amount by which the rebates reduced taxpayers' personal tax liabilities). Social benefits are included in personal income (NIPA Tables 2.1 and 2.6, line 23).