What You Should Know About the Federal Stimulus Checks – Up to $1,200 for Each Qualifying American
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (a.k.a. CARES Act) was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, 2020.
This historic stimulus package allocates funds for a number of programs, including loan relief for small businesses and stimulus checks for many Americans, among other legislative changes.
This page addresses Frequently Asked Questions about the individual stimulus payments (a.k.a. economic impact payments) and what you can expect regarding your stimulus check.
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Am I Eligible for a Stimulus Payment?
In order to qualify, you must have a Social Security Number (SSN), could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and had adjusted gross income under certain limits. Your stimulus payment will be based on information from the most recent tax return you filed with the IRS or information you provide to the IRS. (Note that you will qualify for a stimulus check if you don’t earn enough to file but you receive Social Security payments.)
Your eligibility depends on your income. You will receive a stimulus check if your income is:
- Below $99,000 for single filers
- Below $198,000 for married couples filing jointly
- Below $136,500 for heads of household
If you are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, you will not be eligible for a stimulus check.
How Much Will I Get for My Stimulus Payment?
The maximum payment for an individual is $1,200 (or $2,400 for married couples filing jointly). Most Americans will get the full amount, however, some will get less. The amount of your payment is based on the most recent federal tax return you filed (tax year 2018 or 2019).
You will get the full amount for the stimulus check if your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is:
- $75,000 or less for single filers
- $150,000 or less for married couples filing jointly with no children
- $112,500 or less for heads of household
Note that your payment will increase by $500 for each qualifying child (age 16 or under) you have.
Do I Need to Apply to Receive a Stimulus Check?
No, you do not need to apply to get a payment. If the IRS has your 2018 or 2019 tax return, it will use the income and bank account information that’s on file to calculate your payment amount and transfer your stimulus check via Direct Deposit.
If you need to change or add your Direct Deposit bank account, or are a non-filer, the IRS has be built a web portal here where people can update/enter their information. If you do not provide the IRS with your bank information, you should make sure they have your correct address on file so you can get a paper check in the mail.
Should I File a Tax Return With the IRS for My Stimulus Check?
If you typically don’t file a tax return, you won’t need to file a simple tax return if you want to receive a stimulus payment. This may include veterans, low-income taxpayers, and individuals with disabilities. The IRS has added information to the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here page about how to proceed for this situation and includes your Direct Deposit information so you can receive a stimulus payment.
Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Stimulus Payment?
No, the stimulus checks are not subject to tax.
What If I Owe Back Taxes to the IRS?
You are still eligible for a stimulus payment even if you currently owe taxes to the IRS. The coronavirus relief checks are not subject to tax, and the amount you receive will not be affected by how big (or small) your tax balance is.
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Will the Stimulus Check Affect My Tax Refund?
No, the stimulus payment will not affect your tax refund. You will still receive your full tax refund this year (and next year) as long as you file a tax return by the extended deadline.
RELATED: Where’s My Refund?
How Will I Get the Stimulus Payment Money?
Most Americans will receive their payment by Direct Deposit (i.e. the IRS will deposit the money directly into your bank account). If you do not have your bank information on file with the IRS, then you will get a paper check in the mail.
If you need to change/provide your bank account information, the IRS has built a web portal where you can update your data. If you do not provide the IRS with your bank information, just make sure they have your current address on file so they can mail you a paper check.
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When Will I Receive My Stimulus Check?
If your Direct Deposit information is already on file with the IRS, you may get your stimulus payment by mid-April. However, it could take longer depending on when you set up your bank account information with the IRS. Starting in May, the IRS will begin mailing paper checks to people without Direct Deposit information. Note that it may take up to 20 weeks for the IRS to issue all the paper checks.
What If My Stimulus Check Is Too Small?
There is nothing you can do about it today, but the IRS may permit people to reconcile any underpayment on the next year’s income tax return.
How Many Stimulus Payments Will There Be?
There will only be one (1) stimulus payment per individual. That is all that’s covered by the recently passed coronavirus relief act. If the federal government decides to create and pass another piece of legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be an additional stimulus payment – but we don’t know what will happen for sure.