Stimulus check payments from the IRS is how the government is aiding those struggling because with the economic setbacks of the coronavirus pandemic. Most people have their stimulus checks, but you still might be asking where yours is, whether you’re eligible, or if a stimulus check 2 is happening.
Just weeks after the government agreed on a $ 2 trillion relief package to battle the financial setbacks of Covid-19, the IRS set up a system for sending $ 1,200 to all eligible taxpayers via mail and direct deposit.
Except it’s unclear when everyone will receive their payment, even if they’re eligible. Checks take quite some time to send via mail, and with the tax returns deadline pushed back the IRS is still processing paperwork. There’s also an issue about collecting for the deceased.
You might have heard the payment called a “recovery rebate,” instead of a stimulus check. That’s because it’s technically a tax credit that’s set to appear on the tax return you’ll file for the 2020-2021 tax year.
While tax returns are usually granted after you file your taxes, the government has brought forward the credit to curb the impact COVID-19 has inflicted on American businesses and incomes. These stimulus checks of up to $ 1,200 may help those who have lost their job or are struggling financially in the face of lockdowns.
As the initial wave stimulus checks roll out, the conversations about a second round have emerged. Here’s what we know about it, plus answers to all the other questions you might have about the IRA’s coronavirus payments.
Where’s my stimulus check?
There’s been a few hiccups with sending stimulus checks. Due to overwhelmed websites and call centers fielding queries about payment destinations, the system is working slowly.
That said, if you’ve filed your taxes, the IRS has your bank account information on file and may have electronically deposited your check on April 13. Alternatively, physical checks were mailed out on April 24.
But that doesn’t everyone who is eligible has received theirs yet. According to The Washington Post, some checks may not arrive until September. The government is still processing tax returns, so your check might not have been one of the 88 million the Treasury Department says has been sent out so far.
You can check the status of your stimulus check using a neat tool the IRS developed. When you fill out a short form on the IRS Get My Payment app, you should be able to view the status of your stimulus check if you’re due to get one.
Here’s how it works: Go to the IRS Get My Payment app website . Click ‘Get My Payment’ to enter the portal. Click ‘OK’ on the authorized use page after you’ve reviewed the terms. Fill out your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Tax ID (ITIN), your date of birth (MM / DD / YYYY), your street address and your ZIP code. Click ‘Continue.’
Stimulus check eligibility: Do you qualify?
Stimulus check eligibility depends on how much you earn on the books each year. If you are a U.S. taxpayer that earned less than $ 75,000 a year according to your most recent tax return, you qualify for the full $ 1,200 payment.
Married couples who file joint tax returns will receive a $ 2,400 payment if they have a total income of $ 150,000 or less. Individuals who earn over $ 99,000 or childless couples earning $ 198,000 won’t receive any payment, while those who earn somewhere in between will receive prorated amounts. This online calculator will tell you how much you can expect.
Note that people on Social Security support don’t need to apply for the payment. Unfortunately, in the rush to get out stimulus checks as quickly as possible, some have been sent to people who have died, according to CNN. And the IRS says those payments need to be returned.
Keep in mind that you must file your taxes to quality for the stimulus check. The IRS has extended the usual April 15 deadline to July 15, but the sooner the government has your 2018-2019 tax information the sooner you can get your payment.
Stimulus check schedule: When you should get yours
The IRS started mailing out stimulus checks the week of April 13, sending paper payments to over 5 million eligible taxpayers. It completed the payments of millions more who had set up direct deposit.
Paper stimulus checks will continue to be sent out every week, at the rate of about 5 million per week. The “schedule” depends on your income, meaning how much you make according to your recent tax return will control when your check is sent.
The IRS is sending out the $ 1,200 paper checks for those with the lowest incomes first, and predicts it will take up to 20 weeks to fulfill all the payments.
If you need your stimulus check sooner, you can still set up direct deposit.
Stimulus check direct deposit deadline: How to set it up
By setting up direct deposit for your stimulus check you’ll get your check much faster than if you wait for it to come via snail mail. However, if you haven’t set it up already, it’s too late now. You’ll need to wait on the mail for your check.
Mailed checks will start arriving later in May and into June. If a second round of stimulus checks happens, direct deposit might open up again.
Here’s how it works: Go to the IRS Get My Payment app website. Click Get My Payment. Click OK. Enter your Social Security Number (SSN), date of birth (you can manually write it in, in the MM / DD / YYYY format), street address and ZIP / postal code. Then click Continue.
Click Enter Bank Information. Fill out your 2018 or 2019 tax return information, with your Adjusted Gross Income. Enter your banking information for the deposit. Your routing number is the 9-digit string in the bottom left corner of your checks. The bank account number is to the right of the routing number.
Do you have to pay taxes on your stimulus check?
The short answer is no, you do not have to pay taxes on your stimulus check.
The stimulus check is recognized a tax credit, therefore it is not considered taxable income. Rather, no matter how much your payment is worth, you can deduct it from the total taxes you owe next year.
It will be reflected on your 2020-2021 tax return in your total refund amount, but you won’t collect it then because you’ve already received the advance. If you haven’t received your payment, check that you’re eligible and have fulfilled the requirements.
Why haven’t I gotten my stimulus check?
If you get a ‘payment status not available’ message when checking your stimulus check status, there could be multiple reasons for that. The easiest answer is that you might make too much money to qualify.
As reported by CNN, another reason for receiving the payment status not available message is that the IRS could still be processing your 2019 tax return. The agency might also be processing the non-filer form that you submitted online. Also keep in mind that the IRS simply hasn’t uploaded your data to the tool yet.
Unfortunately, those who see a “Payment status not available” message are not able to input bank account information.
Stimulus check round 2: Is a second payment coming?
Will there be a second round of stimulus check payments? It’s not greedy to ask. $ 1,200 might not cover the expenses for people who have lost their jobs or have faced additional financial obstacles in the past week.
Financial technology firm SimplyWise found that 63% of Americans will require a second stimulus check within the next three months to pay bills. Congress is working on a follow up to its first relief bill that should be completed by May 4. With this information, the House could push to enact a second round of stimulus checks, or even a monthly payment system.
However, even if a second round does happen, it may take a while to come. Newsweek reports that the GOP is reluctant to spend more money given the current national debt, and may want to wait “until they study closer how the aid they’ve given so far has impacted people.”
So what about a monthly stimulus check? A report in Forbes says that a bill to provide monthly payments of $ 2,000 to Americans within a certain age and income bracket is “gaining steam” with some congressional supporters. The bill was put forth by Rep. Time Ryan (D-Ohio) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif).
However, a second round of stimulus is definitely not a given. According to Axios, President Trump talking to House Republicans said that he is “in no rush” to negotiate a deal for another stimulus package.
Stimulus check round 2: Possible alternatives
It’s possible that instead of a second or monthly stimulus check, the government may lower the taxes taken out of folks on a payroll. That’s according to statements made by President Trump during a virtual town hall on May 3.
“I want to see a payroll tax cut on both sides, a very strong one, because that’s going to really put people to work,” said President Trump.
Reduced taxes could provide some relief for those still currently employed, but it’s not a solution for the ever-growing number of people that are finding themselves out of work.
Best ways to spend your stimulus check
If you’re fortunate enough to be researching the best ways to spend your stimulus check, you’ll want to put the payment to good use. But how to spend your stimulus check depends on your situation, and whether you have enough emergency savings.
Unless you already have 6 months worth of emergency money saved, consider depositing your stimulus check for a rainy day. You’ll be gland you have some cash on hand when an unexpected expense comes up.
Confident your savings is padded enough? Examine your debts. If you’re dealing with any high-interest debts, specifically from credit card companies, try to pay them back in full. This will help your credit score long term.
Once your savings and debts are in order, and you’re looking to get that $ 1,200 off your hands, you can invest in stocks. You could also support local businesses, or donate to those in need. It entirely depends on your circumstances, so weigh your choices wisely.
Stimulus check for deceased: How to return it
In several instances, the IRS has sent stimulus checks to people who are deceased. This week, the agency amended its FAQ page to direct taxpayers about what to do if you’ve received a payment for someone who has passed.
According to the IRS, a check sent to a deceased person must be returned or repaid to the IRS, even if that person has died recently. Here is how to repay the stimulus check, even if you’ve already cashed it or you received it via direct deposit.
As for joint taxpayers, this is the IRS’s guidance: “Return the entire Payment unless the Payment was made to joint filers and one spouse had not died before receipt of the Payment, in which case, you only need to return the portion of the Payment made on account of the decedent. This amount will be $ 1,200 unless adjusted gross income exceeded $ 150,000. “
Stimulus check scams and warnings
For any additional stimulus check inquiries or concerns, you should visit the dedicated IRS website. The IRS will not email or text you updated about your payment, so if you received any correspondence recently in regard to stimulus checks, it’s likely a scam. Use precaution when vetting suspicious messages, and be careful not to click on any links.
Check out our guide to COVID-19 scams for more tips to keep yourself (and your money) safe during these times.