On March 30, the US government announced that economic stimulus payments will be sent out to citizens in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. But what is actually going on with that money? How much should you be getting? And do you need to do anything to make sure you receive your share of the cash?
First, let’s break down the amount being doled out: If you are an individual with a gross income of less than $75,000 a year, or a married couple with less than $150,000 combined gross annual income, you are eligible for individual payments of $1,200 or $2,400 per couple. Have kids? Then you’ll be getting an extra $500 for each dependent child.
For those who make over the $75,000 individual and $150,000 combined cutoffs, you might be able to receive a reduced payment if your gross income is still less than $99,000 individually or $198,000 combined. The IRS will be subtracting $5 for each $100 amount earned above the $75,000 and $150,000 thresholds.
Now, will this money make its way into your wallet? If you’ve filed your 2019 or 2018 taxes, you just have to sit and wait for it to show up in the bank account used for direct deposit on your return. For those who haven’t filed either of those year’s taxes yet, you are still eligible for the payment by submitting those as soon as you can. It’s also important to note that the IRS has extended the tax return deadline to July 15 this year, but if you have any major changes between your 2018 and 2019 that could mean more cash for you from this stimulus program, the quicker you get it in the better. Otherwise, they will just go off of the information on your 2018 return.
But what if you filed your tax returns without a direct deposit? The IRS claims to be working on a web-based portal to submit bank information in those cases which will be available “in the coming weeks.” Check for updates on the IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief website as the program moves forward with the payments.
The organization also says that those who don’t normally file taxes — low-income taxpayers, senior citizens without income, Social Security recipients, some veterans, and individuals with disabilities — will need to submit a “simple tax return” to get their cash. Again, they will be updating their Coronavirus Tax Relief website in the coming days with more information on exactly how to file a “simple, but necessary, information including their filing status, number of dependents and direct deposit bank account information.” This won’t make these individuals responsible for suddenly paying taxes they wouldn’t ordinarily pay, but just get their info where it needs to be so they can get in on the economic payout.
Any adults who are still listed as dependents on their parents’ taxes, such as college students, will not be eligible for this payout. They will qualify for the extra $500, though, but it’s up to their parents whether they feel like sharing. As for US citizens living abroad, if they have filed taxes and have Social Security numbers, they should receive it based on their income like the rest of us.
The only question left: When will our money arrive? According to the New York Times, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin believes most people will have their cash by April 17, so keep an eye out on your bank statements.
Here’s hoping this extra chunk of change can be a silver lining for all of us during this strange and stressful time.