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Stimulus Check Rundown


Last updated 5/7/2020 at 10:47am

In an effort to help curb the crippling economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump signed a stimulus package called the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act is the biggest rescue package in U.S. history with a staggering price tag of $2 trillion.

Most people did not have to do anything to receive their Economic Impact Payment, as many received their refunds via direct deposit, and were expected to receive their payments electronically, according to the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury Department.

Over 80 million residents began receiving their payments via direct deposit the week of April 13. At least 171 million total payments are still expected to go out, including paper checks through the mail.

These payments were dependent on income based on your 2018 or 2019 tax returns. Individuals would get $1,200, and married couples who filed jointly would receive $2,400. Those with dependent children under the age of 17 received an additional $500 for each child.

Those who don’t qualify are those who essentially make too much. Individuals who make over $99,000 and $136,500 for married couples will not get one. Along with dependent children over 16 or dependent adults.

However, not every citizen will get the stimulus check because of their spouse’s immigration status. In the 800-page bill, it stated that mixed-status families will be ineligible for a check. These are the couples who filed jointly, but if one does not have a social security number, they will not be able to get the amount of $2,400.

Despite millions receiving it, the undocumented immigrants are also left in the dark, even if they are paying taxes. Many have ITIN numbers, which are government issue to people working without permanent status, but are still required to pay income taxes.

If the IRS already has your bank information from your 2018 or 2019 tax filing, it will deposit your payment directly into your account. If not, you can submit the details via a new online tool called “Get My Payment” on the IRS website. This tool could also be used to check on the status of the payment or update your mailing address if you’ve recently moved.

If you didn’t file in either 2018 or 2019, you may still be eligible for payments. If you didn’t make enough to file a return or you receive veteran’s retirement, disability or survivor benefits, you should check your eligibility by using the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” on the IRS website.

If the “Get My Payment” tool shows the message “Payment Status Not Available,” it could mean a number of things, including that you’re not eligible or that the IRS hasn’t finished processing your returns. But also remember, you are one of millions attempting to check your status, so the system could be overwhelmed with requests.

While many are eagerly awaiting their checks, they should also be on the lookout for fraud/scams. The Secret Service and Treasury Department teamed up to warn Americans about counterfeit U.S. Treasury checks that could be circulating.

To be sure the paper check is real, look to see if it includes a new seal that appears to the right of the Statue of Liberty that says “Bureau of the Fiscal Service,” among others. Be aware of scammers who might try to take advantage of you at this time, and be sure to guard personal information that could be used to unlock prepaid debit cards.

While to many, the $1,200 helps a whole lot, but to others, it’s not nearly enough. Compared to other places in the world, many countries are offering up to 90% of workers’ salaries, or checks of $2,000 a month for a given number of months.

While receiving extra money during this time is great, questions still raise eyebrows of will this income be taxed? The money via the stimulus check is not taxable, meaning it doesn’t count toward your 2020 taxable income. In addition, the check is also not an advance on your refund for 2020, as it is mutually exclusive from one another. The checks are also not a loan, so you do not need to pay it back.

Be sure to follow the steps to make sure the IRS has what it needs from you. In most cases, be patient, but at the same time vigilant. This is a crippling time, but remember we will get through it.

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