Last week, President Trump and Congress passed a $2 trillion relief package to support American families and businesses feeling the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among other relief, the White House says, "This legislation provides tax free payments — treated as a refundable tax credit — to Americans, giving families the immediate financial support they need."
So the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are handing out money to Americans to offset to impact of the COVID-19 crisis. These "economic impact payments" will hypothetically be distributed automatically within the next three weeks, according to the IRS, as long as you are a taxpayers who regularly files your tax returns.
The economic impact payments will be available through the rest of 2020.
If you don't file your returns, you will need to do so to receive your payment — unless you receive Social Security, are a senior citizen or a railroad retiree. If you are and are not generally required to file a tax return, you are still eligible and you still do not need to file a return.
If you are none of the above, you must at least have filed your 2018 return to receive a payment. If you haven't filed for 2019 yet, that's OK — the deadline has been extended from April 15 to July 15.
The Treasury Department also says, "Most American will receive tax refunds this year, so file your tax return right away to receive yours. The tax payment and filing deadline has been extended until July 15, but you can file now and get your refund."
Here's the lowdown on the government stimulus if you don't feel like googling or searching the IRS site. If you do want more info, you can visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.
How much will you get?
- Individuals who filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018 and earn up to $75,000 will receive $1,200, plus $500 for each child.
- Married couples who filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018 and earn up to $150,000 will receive $2,400 per couple, plus $500 for each child.
- If you make more than $75,000 as an individual or $150,000 as a married couple, your payment will be reduced by $5 per $100 above those amounts.
- If you make more than $99,000 as an individual or $198,000 as a joint filer with no kids, you are not eligible to receive a stimulus check.
- The IRS will automatically calculate these payments based on your 2018 or 2019 tax return.
Where will the IRS send your money?
- The IRS will directly deposit your payment into the bank account listed on your 2018 or 2019 tax return.
- If the IRS does not have your direct deposit info, the Treasury Department is apparently making a website portal where you can provide your bank account info instead of waiting to receive your payment through the mail.
Do you need to do anything?
- Generally speaking, no.
- Unless you haven't filed your tax return for 2018 yet — you need to do that in order to receive your stimulus payment. And include your direct deposit info on that return.
- Economic impact payments will be available through the rest of 2020, according to the IRS.
- If you are a person who is not typically required by law to file a tax return — aka a senior citizen, a person who receives Social Security and/or a railroad retiree — the IRS says they will use the info 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." If you fall under this category, the IRS also says they will have no information regarding dependents and you'll just receive $1,200 per person.