Checks for millions of Americans, a key part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill, will start rolling out as early as next week.
That money can’t come soon enough for the more than 16 million people who are suddenly out of a job, and everyone else who’s worried about how to pay their bills, rent and withstand the coronavirus’ economic onslaught.
The Internal Revenue Service will send $1,200 payments to individuals with adjusted gross income below $75,000 and $2,400 to married couples filing taxes jointly who earn under $150,000. The government will also pay $500 per qualifying child.
The payouts — formally dubbed “economic impact payments” — decline above the $75,000/$150,000 threshold and end at $99,000 for indviduals and $198,000 for married couples.
The money will appear automatically in your bank account if the IRS has your account information on file from previous years’ tax returns. If the IRS doesn’t already have your account information, or if you didn’t file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you can submit your information.
“Economic Impact Payments will be distributed automatically to most people starting next week,” the IRS said Friday. The agency said it would launch a tracking tool called “Get My Payment” by April 17. The tool will give people an idea on when they can expect a deposit or a check in the mail, the IRS said.
The IRS announcement Friday didn’t get into specifics on its timeline to cut checks, but here’s an estimated timetable, according to federal lawmakers, as of last week.
• The IRS is planning to send a first wave for the week that starts April 13, according to an expected timeline from the House Ways and Means Committee.
The tax authority will transmit 60 million payments via direct deposit, using the banking information it has on file for taxpayers’ 2018 or 2019 tax returns, the timetable said.
That wave will include Social Security recipients who filed tax returns and included direct deposit information on their returns, according to the House Ways and Means’ estimated timeline.
• The second wave will go to Social Security recipients who did not file 2018 or 2019 returns and receive their benefits through direct deposit.
• In early May, the IRS will start mailing paper checks to households, at a rate of 5 million per week. The paper checks will first go to the households with the lowest adjusted gross incomes, and continue upwards.
It could take up to 20 weeks to mail out all those checks, according to the House Ways and Means’ timetable.
The stimulus bill devotes $290 billion to the direct payments. The average payment will be $1,523 per household, according to calculations from the Tax Foundation, a right-leaning think tank.
It’s important to remember that people are still eligible to receive a stimulus check even if they haven’t filed taxes. Someone might not file federal taxes if they make too little money to report. For example, single filers earning below $12,200 last year, and married couples earning $24,400.
The payments will go to anyone who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien who has a valid Social Security number, could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and meets the income requirements.
People who haven’t filed taxes can submit their bank account information to register for the payments.
As checks are about to hit accounts, law enforcement officials worry crooks are going to try to pounce.
The IRS will never call, text, email or reach out to consumer via social media to say it needs more information to process a payment. The same goes for banks and credit unions. Experts say those financial institutions won’t contact customers asking for sensitive banking information — because they already have it.