(WJW) — The U.S. government is preparing to send out direct payments as part of the $2 trillion stimulus package to help individuals amid the coronavirus pandemic. But there are still a lot of questions about who qualifies and how to get the economic stimulus checks.
Here are some basic guidelines to follow:
Who is eligible?
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment, according to the IRS. Filers with income above those amounts will see a reduced payment.
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.
Who is not eligible?
Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible.
According to the IRS, besides those who have an adjusted gross income that is beyond the required threshold, the following are not eligible for the payments:
— Those who can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return
— Those who do not have a social security number
— Those who are considered nonresident aliens
— Those who filed Form 1040-NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR or Form 1040-SS for 2019
How much will I get?
The IRS will base taxpayers’ payment on the adjusted gross income listed on their most recent tax return.
CLICK HERE to determine how much you will receive.
Will you automatically receive the money?
No action needed if: Your direct deposit information is on file with the government. For example, if you authorized a direct deposit for refunds on either your 2019 or 2018 tax return, the money will be deposited directly into the same banking account, and you don’t have to take any action to receive it.
Social Security and Railroad Retirment recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action. The IRS will use their information on file to send payments.
Action needed if: You didn’t file your taxes in 2018 or 2019. The IRS urges those who didn’t file a tax return for either 2019 and 2018 to do so quickly. Those who don’t normally need to file a tax return may have to file a simple tax return in order to receive their payment. That includes individuals who earned less than $12,200 in 2019 and couples who earned less than $24,400.
What if my direct deposit information isn’t on file and I take no action?
The IRS has stated that the U.S. Department of Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so individuals can receive direct deposit payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.
There is no word on the status of that portal. TurboTax, however, has set up its own free web portal to get your direct deposit information to the IRS.
If you do not get your direct deposit information to the IRS, you will receive a paper check but it could take much longer to receive.
What do Social Security and Railroad Retirement recipients have to do to receive their payments?
They do not have to file a tax return. Beneficiaries will automatically receive the money, and the IRS will use the information that the Social Security Administration has on file.
Those who normally receive their benefits directly in their bank accounts will receive the stimulus money in the same way. Others will receive a check in the mail — though it will likely take longer to receive the payment than those who use direct deposit.
What if I owe back taxes or child support or if I’m on unemployment?
Those who owe back taxes will still receive a payment.
Those with outstanding child support could see their check reduced, according to Business Insider.
If you are on unemployment and are eligible, you can get $600 per week on top of existing benefits as part of the stimulus bill for up to four months. If you are already on unemployment, you will automatically get the $600 payments.
There is an unclear timetable for those payments. Some could see the payments as soon as this week. For those who don’t, they’ll receive retroactive payments to as early as March 29.
Will the money I get now be taxed later?
No. The check you receive is really just an advanced payment of a tax credit for the 2020 tax year. It won’t be included in your taxable income.
That being said, the government is using your 2019 (or 2018) returns to estimate how big of a check you should receive. Once it gets your 2020 tax return, it will recalculate that. So if for example, based on your 2019 return, you get $1,200, but then when you file your 2020 returns, the government realized you should have only gotten $1,100, you will owe the government $100.
What if I recently moved?
If you’re set to receive a paper check, it’ll likely be mailed to the last address you had on file. If you recently moved, you should file a Form 8822 with the IRS and a change of address notice with the U.S. Postal Service.
When will I get my payment?
The first payments are set to be direct-deposited starting as early as the week of April 13.
The IRS expects to start issuing paper checks between April 24 and May 4.
Paper checks will be issued at a rate of about 5 million per week. Individuals with the lowest income, based on adjusted gross income, will receive their paper checks first. In the past, it has taken longer to send checks than make direct deposits. Experts say it could take up to five months for people to receive their paper checks, reports Business Insider.
According to the stimulus legislation, the IRS has until the end of 2020 to transfer the payments.
For more guidelines from the IRS, click here.