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Chances are pretty good that you have heard about the stimulus checks that were approved when the president signed the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) into law on March 27, 2020.
However, I bet you still have lots of questions about the CARES stimulus checks and how much money they will mean for you.
What are these stimulus checks?
A stimulus check is a cash distribution paid out to the American people to help stimulate the economy. It is going to be based on your 2019 tax return if you have already filed, or on your 2018 tax return if you haven’t filed this years’ yet.
Who will get a CARES Act stimulus check?
Any individual taxpayer who had an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of less than $75,000 will get a payment of $1200. There will be a reduced amount given to individual taxpayers from $75,001 – $99,000 (the payment amount will decrease by $5 for every $100 of income over $75,000).
Married couples will each earn $1200 if their combined AGI was under $150,000 and reduced amounts up to the combined income of $198,000.
Head of Household filers (typically single parents) will be able to earn the $1200 up to an AGI of $112,500 and reduced amounts up to $136,500.
Taxpayers that claimed dependent children on their returns will get an additional $500 per child under age 17.
Here is a helpful Calculator to do the math for you or if you want to verify what you think you will get.
How will I receive my payment?
The IRS will begin issuing payments to the direct deposit account on file for your return, if you provided one, on the return they are referencing for payment.
If there is no direct deposit account on file or the account has been closed, the check will be mailed to your address provided on the return.
When will I get my stimulus payment?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that he wanted to start sending out the checks by the week of April 6, but some think this is a lofty goal and they won’t be sent out till later in April.
I think it is safe to say that most of us will have our payments sometime in April.
Will there be more payments made?
Currently, no. The law only allows for one payment.
However, Trump has stated that he is open to another round of checks, but only if the economy is still struggling through the Spring.
Should I file my 2019 tax return, so I will get my payment?
Filing now will only affect the payment if the IRS receives your return BEFORE they process your payment.
It may be worth a try to submit ASAP if you need to update your direct deposit information if you had a child since filing in 2018, you had less income that would increase your payment or any other reason that would change your payment.
If you haven’t filed your return yet and want to from home, you can file from home using Turbo Tax and some of yours may even qualify to file for free on this site.
Will I still get a payment if I owe back taxes or child support?
Stimulus money is not generally reduced for debts owed for back taxes or other government debts.
If you are past due on child support and it has been reported to the Federal Government, this WILL reduce your payment, which is good news for parents awaiting the past-due support.
Will I get a payment if I didn’t file due to having a low income on Social Security?
Americans on Social Security that did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, will still be eligible for the payment. If they received an SSA-1099 form (the Social Security benefits statement), the federal government will be able to send the payment via the usual way they get their Social Security payment.
What happens if I don’t get a stimulus check?
15 days after your direct deposit or check has been issued, the IRS will send a notice to your last known address with instructions on what to do if you haven’t yet received your payment.
If you have recently moved, you may want to file Form 8822 with the IRS and a change of address notice with the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive all that is mailed pertaining to this issue.
I still have more questions?
Many Americans do. You can monitor the IRS Coronavirus Site for information that will be updated as it becomes available.
How should I use my payment?
This may be the most important question of all if you want to use the extra money wisely or to your greatest benefit.
I recommend how to spend extra money like your tax return, and this money would follow the same logic.
However, if you have lost a job or income due to the virus’s mandated social distancing, you may need to first pay down bills that are due. Be sure to apply for unemployment through your state’s unemployment office and any other financial help available before relying on this money to pay your regular bills.
If you would like to keep up with the latest COVID-19 tax information, you can monitor either of these sites:
Turbo Tax COVID-19 Tax Info Center
IRS Coronavirus Information Site (Stimulus Check Info will be updated here)
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