WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – As millions of Americans wait to receive stimulus checks in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, many have questions.
Who is eligible? And if you’re eligible, when should you receive your check? And how much will the check be worth?
Here is a complete guide provided by the IRS:
Who is eligible?
U.S. residents will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers and $2,400 for married couples filing jointly if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work-eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:
- $75,000 for individuals
- $112,500 for head of household filers and
- $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns
Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is between:
- $75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
- $112,500 and $136,500 for head of household
- $150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly
The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayers’ specific adjusted gross income.
Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans benefits, as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return, will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Retirees who receive either Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits will also receive payments automatically.
When will I receive my check?
A document from the House Ways and Means Committee says the IRS will make about 60 million payments to Americans through direct deposit in mid-April, likely the week of April 13. However, according to the Washington Post, some people with direct deposit information on file at the IRS could receive the payment as early as April 9.
People without direct deposit information on file at the IRS may not get checks until as late as mid-August or later, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.
An IRS spokesperson recently told the Washington Post the first paper check stimulus payments will be issued to people in the lowest-income bracket ($10,000 or less) beginning on April 24.
If you currently do not have direct deposit information on file and want to update your information, the IRS has said a web-portal will be announced “in the coming weeks” that will allow “individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.”
If you don’t want to wait for the web-portal to be announced, TurboTax has partnered with the IRS to offer a stimulus registration program that allows you to register your direct deposit information with the IRS. However, it does require you to create an account with TurboTax.
Who is not eligible?
Although some filers, such as high-income filers, will not qualify for an Economic Impact Payment, most will.
Taxpayers likely won’t qualify for an Economic Impact Payment if any of the following apply:
- Your adjusted gross income is greater than
- $99,000 if your filing status was single or married filing separately
- $136,500 for head of household
- $198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly
- You can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return. For example, this would include a child, student or older dependent who can be claimed on a parent’s return.
- You do not have a valid Social Security number.
- You are a nonresident alien.
- You filed Form 1040-NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR or Form 1040-SS for 2019.
How much is it worth?
Eligible individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for head of household filers and $150,000 for married filing jointly are eligible for the full $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 married filing jointly. In addition, they are eligible for an additional $500 per qualifying child.
For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$112,500/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000, $136,500 for head of household filers and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible and will not receive payments.
Do I need to take action?
People who filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018
No additional action is needed by taxpayers who:
- have already filed their tax returns this year for 2019. The IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount.
- haven’t filed yet for 2019 but filed a 2018 federal tax return. For these taxpayers the IRS will use their information from 2018 tax filings to make the Economic Impact Payment calculations.
People who aren’t typically required to file a tax return
Social Security and Railroad Retirement recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate Economic Impact Payments of $1,200 to these individuals even if they did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients are also part of this group who don’t need to take action.
For Social Security, Railroad retirees and SSDI who have qualifying children, they can take an additional step to receive $500 per qualifying child.
There are other individuals such as low-income workers and certain veterans and individuals with disabilities who aren’t required to file a tax return, but they are still eligible for the Economic Impact Payments. Taxpayers can check the IRS.gov tool – Do I Need to File a Tax Return? – to see if they have a filing requirement.
The IRS will soon provide guidance for these individuals on the steps to take to get their payment as soon as possible.
Payment recipients: Watch for an IRS letter
For security reasons, the IRS plans to mail a letter about the economic impact payment to the taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is paid. The letter will provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment. If a taxpayer is unsure they’re receiving a legitimate letter, the IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov first to protect against scam artists.
Avoid scams related to economic payments, COVID-19
The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call , text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.
I am not typically required to file a tax return. Can I still receive my payment?
Yes. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 to generate Economic Impact Payments to recipients of benefits reflected in the Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 who are not required to file a tax return and did not file a return for 2018 or 2019. This includes senior citizens, Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are not otherwise required to file a tax return.
Since the IRS would not have information regarding any dependents for these people, each person would receive $1,200 per person, without the additional amount for any dependents at this time.
I have a tax filing obligation but have not filed my tax return for 2018 or 2019. Can I still receive an economic impact payment?
Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.
I need to file a tax return. How long are the economic impact payments available?
For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.
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