The CARES Act of 2020 provided $300 billion in direct support economic impact payments to individuals, with 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 at $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 $99,000 for single taxpayers with no children and $198,000 for joint taxpayers with no children. Tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will be 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 in value beginning at $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 $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.
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).