The IRS and the Treasury Department say Americans will start receiving their economic impact checks in the next three weeks. The payments are part of the $2.2 trillion rescue package signed into law last week by President Donald Trump aimed at combating the economic ravages of the coronavirus outbreak.
As part of the economic stimulus bill, hundreds of billions of dollars are being earmarked for one-time economic impact payments, or “stimulus checks” to most American households. While the size of the stimulus payments has been widely reported, there are some key details that are still unclear — such as how you’ll actually get your payment, what happens if you haven’t filed a tax return recently, and what if your information has changed.
While this is still a fluid situation and there are some important details the IRS and Treasury haven’t quite figured out yet (to be fair, the bill passed just a few days ago), the IRS recently issued their most up-to-date guidance yet. With that in mind, here are five things about the stimulus check that you need to know.
Most people don’t need to do anything to get the money. But some — including senior citizens and low-income people who might not traditionally file tax returns — do need to take action. People behind on filing their taxes might also want to get caught up.
The IRS and Treasury have provided more details on how to ensure you get paid. Here are the basics:
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PAYMENTS?
Anyone earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income and who has a Social Security number will receive a $1,200 payment. That means married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment — $2,400 — if their adjusted gross income, which what you report on your taxes, is under $150,000.
The payment steadily declines for those who make more. Those earning more than $99,000, or $198,000 for joint filers, are not eligible. The thresholds are slightly different for those who file as a head of household.
Parents will also receive $500 for each qualifying child. So, a family of four could get as much as $3,400.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET THE CHECK?
For most people, nothing. If you’ve already filed your 2019 tax return, which is now due on July 15, the IRS will use it to determine your eligibility. If you have not filed a 2019 tax return yet, your eligibility will be based on your 2018 return.
The money will be directly deposited in your bank account if the government has that information from your tax return. If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes, the government will use information from your 2018 taxes to calculate your payment and determine where to send it. It can use your Social Security benefit statement as well.
I DON’T USUALLY HAVE TO FILE TAXES. DO I STILL GET A PAYMENT?
Yes. People who are not required to file a tax return — such as low-income tax payers, some senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and people with disabilities — will need to file a very simplified tax return to receive the economic impact payment. It provides the government basic details including a person’s filing status, number of dependents and direct-deposit bank information.
I HAVEN’T FILED MY 2018 OR 2019 TAXES. WILL I STILL GET A PAYMENT?
Yes, but the IRS urges anyone required to file a tax return and has not yet done so for those years to file as soon as possible in order to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include their direct-deposit banking information on the return if they want it deposited in their account.
I DIDN’T USE DIRECT DEPOSIT ON MY TAXES, WHAT CAN I DO?
The government will default to sending you the check by mail if you did not use direct deposit.
However, IRS and Treasury say that they will develop an online portal in the coming weeks for individuals to provide their banking information so that they can receive the payments immediately instead of in the mail. It has not yet set a deadline for updating that information.
WHERE DO I DO THIS?
The IRS says the Treasury is planning to develop a web-based portal for taxpayers to provide their bank account information for stimulus payments. The goal is to get the money in your hands as soon as reasonably possible, and the quickest way to do that is to allow everyone to use direct deposit if they so choose. We don’t know yet if there will be an option to choose a paper check.The IRS and Treasury say the website irs.gov/coronavirus will soon provide information about the check, including how people can file a simple 2019 tax return.
I NEED MORE TIME TO FILE MY TAX RETURNS. HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO GET THE PAYMENT?
The IRS says people concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return should not worry. The economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Thursday that many Americans reeling from the financial impacts caused by the coronavirus outbreak can expect to see their one-time stimulus checks of up to $1,200 show up in their bank accounts in about two weeks. For those without direct deposit, Mnuchin promised checks would go out quickly in a matter of “weeks.”
The announcement followed a memo sent out by House Democrats that warned some Americans could have to wait up to 20 weeks – or five months – before they receive their checks.
The first payments are expected go out within three weeks to those for whom the Internal Revenue Service already has direct deposit information on file. Mnuchin said at a White House coronavirus briefing that payments would go out within two weeks to people whose direct deposit details are on file with the government, echoing comments he made after passage of the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill that payments would not go out until mid-April. He added that a web portal would be established for people to supply their details and that checks would be sent to anyone else, but did not specify a timeline. “I am assuring the American public, they need the money now.”