Affordable Housing Online is monitoring the federal government's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. 

An extensive list of coronavirus resources for low-income households can be found here.

Will I have to pay back the government stimulus payment that I get?


No, you will not have to owe the government back the CARES Act stimulus payment that all taxpayers are due to receive.

Affordable Housing Online's research has found that the CARES Act contains a provision that makes the government look upon the stimulus check as both a tax refund and a tax credit.

If you overpaid your taxes in 2020 and the government owes you a refund in 2021, your refund will be based on your 2020 income without the stimulus check money added as income, because you will also receive a special tax credit deduction for the same amount.

So, your stimulus check is canceled out as income and not deducted from what you would get as a tax refund in 2021.

  • Example:

    $1,200 (Stimulus Payment)
    -$1,200 (Special Tax Credit)
    $0 (What will be deducted from your tax refund to pay back the stimulus check)

Or as another example, look at it this way:

If the amount of taxes you owe on your 2020 taxable income is $3,000, but you actually paid $4,000; then the government would owe you a tax refund of $1,000.

If you receive the stimulus payment, that income will be cancelled out by a tax credit that's equal to the amount you received.

As a result, it does not increase your taxable income, and you would get the full amount of $1,000 in 2021 as your tax refund.


More information about the government stimulus payment can be found here:

More FAQs from Low Income Households

  • Do I have to do anything if I’m on a rental subsidy program and become unemployed or lose hours from coronavirus?
  • Are housing authorities still open during the coronavirus outbreak?
  • Can I be evicted if I can't pay rent because of coronavirus?
  • What is the government stimulus payment?
  • Who qualifies for the government stimulus payment?