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Second Stimulus Check Update: Trump Signs Bill Authorizing Second Round of Stimulus Checks

A second stimulus check is finally on the way. After a nearly week-long political guessing game, President Trump has signed the massive COVID-relief and government spending bill recently passed by Congress. The $900 billion bill that includes, among other things, a second round of stimulus checks ($600 base amount), $300-per-week unemployment benefits, renewed funding for Paycheck Protection Program small business loans, money for COVID-19 vaccines and testing, extended tax breaks, and much more.

The legislation doesn't provide the $2,000-per-person second stimulus checks the president pushed for after Congress passed the bill. However, more money may be on the way. In a statement released before the stimulus bill was signed, the president said "the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000" on December 28 (this was previously planned). He also said "[t]he Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000." Whether that happens remains to be seen. However, if payments aren't increased to $2,000, Americans will still receive the $600 second stimulus checks authorized by the bill already signed by the president.

When Will Your Second Stimulus Check Arrive?

Before the president said he didn't want to sign the COVID-relief and government spending bill, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that checks would start going out before New Year's Eve. However, nearly a week has gone by since Congress passed the bill, so it isn't known at this time if that schedule is still feasible.

In any event, the stimulus bill puts a deadline on delivery of second-round payments. The IRS can't send any second stimulus checks after January 15, 2021. If a payment isn't sent to you by then, you'll have to claim the amount owed to you as a "recovery rebate" credit on your 2020 federal income tax return (which will be due April 15, 2021).

If the IRS already has your bank account information—either from a recent tax payment that you made or from a tax refund it sent you—then expect to get your second stimulus check faster. That's because the IRS will be able to directly deposit the payment into your bank account. The IRS can also make a second stimulus payment to a Direct Express debit card account, a U.S. Debit Card account, or other Treasury-sponsored account. Otherwise, expect to get a paper check in the mail.