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Questions About Stimulus Payments

We are receiving an increasing number of questions about the stimulus checks that will soon be issued by the U.S. Government. And while this is not our area of expertise, we want to do everything we can to keep our clients informed. Below is a summary of what we know based on government communications thus far—plus some helpful websites.

NOTE: The following is not legal advice. It is for information only.

The Economic Impact Payment Process

  • No required action for most people. If you have filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019 there is nothing else you need to do. No application to complete. No paperwork.
  • Direct deposit is the primary disbursement method. If you are eligible for a payment and the IRS has your banking information, the federal government will deposit the money directly into your account.
  • If the IRS does not have your banking information, you can still get a payment by check through the mail, but it may take longer. Meanwhile, the federal government is setting up a site you can use to submit your banking information. For updates on the upcoming site and other related topics go to https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
  • Timing. Government communications indicate that the payments will go out in late April.
  • Eligibility. According to the IRS: “Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment.” Filers with incomes above these amounts may still be eligible, but the amounts are lower. Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child. See complete information at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know

 

Avoiding Scams

The following is a quick summary of advice from the Federal Trade Commission. See the full article at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/04/want-get-your-coronavirus-relief-check-scammers-do-too

  • There is no “application” process. If the IRS has your tax returns for 2018 or 2019, they almost certainly have everything needed to get you your payment.
  • No one from the government will call or email you to get “application” information. If you get a call or email from someone asking for personal information (Social Security Number, banking account, etc.) don’t respond. It’s a scam.
  • Use only the IRS website for submitting banking information. See https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
  • Nobody can speed up the process for you. Beware that scammers are calling and offering to speed up the process so you can get your check sooner. So if you get such a call or email, don’t respond.

Summary of Helpful Websites

Here are some sites you can use to get accurate details and stay up to date as the situation evolves.

Information

Site

Ongoing Updates from IRS Regard Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments.

https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Basics on Economic Impact Payments.

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know

How to avoid scammers who are taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis.

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/04/want-get-your-coronavirus-relief-check-scammers-do-too