WASHINGTON – The United States government is sending $ 1,200 stimulus checks to the vast majority of adults during the coronavirus epidemic, but many will miss.
Most adults with a US social security number will receive payment, but Congress has placed restrictions on who is eligible. People who earn more than $ 99,000 a year will not receive money; many students or adults registered as dependents will also not be registered on someone else’s tax return (this includes some adults with disabilities and some elderly parents). Immigrants who do not have a social security number will also not be eligible for payments.
In addition, not everyone who qualifies will receive $ 1,200 – some will receive more, others less. Payments are based on your income shown on your last tax return, as well as the number of dependent children you have. Yet up to 93.6% of tax filers will receive some form of payment, according to the Tax Foundation.
Here are answers to many common questions about payments:
How much money will I receive?
Residents of the United States who have Social Security numbers with income up to $ 75,000 will receive payments of $ 1,200. For every $ 100 you earn above this threshold, your payment decreases by $ 5. Someone earning $ 85,000, for example, will bring home $ 700. The payments gradually disappear with an income of $ 99,000. You can use the Washington Post online calculator to view your payment amount.
Your income level is based on the last income tax return you filed last year (for 2018 income) or this year if you have already filed it (for 2019 income). If you do not normally file taxes, see below.
What if I’m married?
Payments and limits are doubled for your home if you file your taxes jointly. Couples with household incomes up to $ 150,000 will receive a payment of $ 2,400. At higher household income levels, payments decrease and stop entirely at $ 198,000. You can use the Washington Post online calculator to view your payment amount.
What if I have children?
Parents with children 16 and under will receive an additional $ 500 per child (as long as you have declared them dependent on your tax returns). If you split custody, the parent who claimed your child on their tax return will receive the benefit of $ 500.
What if I’m single?
Single parents who declare their taxes as “head of household” have higher limits on receiving payments than single people without children. Single parents earning up to $ 112,500 will receive the full benefit of $ 1,200. The system then works the same way, with payments decreasing by $ 5 for every $ 100 you earn above this threshold, down to $ 136,500. You will also be entitled to $ 500 per dependent child aged 16 or under. You can use the Washington Post online calculator to view your payment amount.
What if I have no income?
There is no minimum income threshold. Even if you earn $ 0, you are eligible for payment of $ 1,200. But in practice, this will not always happen. Low-income people may not pay taxes or have a social security number. Homeless people may not have a bank account or a fixed address to send payments. At least 3.4 million people eligible for aid in the 2008 stimulus law did not receive payment, and that aid had a minimum income threshold of $ 3,000.
What if I didn’t file my taxes in 2018 or 2019?
The best thing to do is to file your 2019 taxes quickly. You can do it for free using the IRS free filing program.
How can I get the money?
If you have received a direct deposit tax refund in the past, you have nothing to do, the IRS will simply deposit the money into your account. The same goes for people who are on social security or with a disability (more details below). These payments are expected to be released by the end of this week and are expected to be in citizens’ accounts within two weeks, said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
If you don’t have a direct deposit, the IRS will send you a physical check. But it could take time – an IRS report estimated that some people may not receive payments until September, according to the Washington Post, although the Treasury Department believes it will happen sooner. Paper checks are expected to start coming out on April 24, starting with the poorest, the Post reported.
There is another option: the IRS is working on setting up a form on its website for people to fill out their direct deposit information to get that money faster. At the time of publication, this web form was not yet online, but the IRS said it was working to do it soon.
When will I receive the money?
The Treasury Department said that anyone receiving direct deposit should receive payments before April 24. Then they will start sending paper checks, which could take months (see above).
Is the money taxable?
Nope. You will get the total amount for which you are eligible.
What about students and young adults?
This is a big loophole in the law: many students and young adults will not be eligible for these payments. It depends on whether your parents declared you as a “dependent” on their most recent tax returns (whether they filed this year for 2019 or last year for 2018). If so, you won’t get any money, and if you’re 17 or older, they won’t get $ 500 either.
If your parents did do not claiming yourself as a dependent, such as young people who entered the workforce after college, you will be eligible for payments.
What about adult dependents?
This is another major loophole in the law: any adult you declare dependent on your tax returns – including disabled adult children living at home and elderly parents – will not be eligible for payments, and you will not receive extra money for on their behalf.
What about immigrants and people with DACA status?
You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for payments – but you do need a Social Security number. Thus, immigrants with green cards or certain work visas, such as the popular H-1B visa, will be eligible. Temporary workers, undocumented workers and non-resident foreigners will not be. The National Immigration Law Center maintains that millions of taxpaying immigrants will no longer be able to receive assistance.
Immigrants who pay taxes but do not have a social security number will not be eligible. Neither do their children, even if they are citizens, if they are claimed as dependents. The Center for Budget and Political Priorities called the group a “glaring” omission and said the center was pushing Congress to include these immigrants in future legislation to allow them to retroactively obtain payments.
DACA beneficiaries are eligible for social security numbers, which will allow them to qualify for payments.
What if I’m an American working abroad?
You should still receive payments as long as you have a Social Security number and file US taxes.
What if I am on social security or on disability?
You will still receive payments, as long as you reach the income thresholds. Even if you don’t usually file taxes, the IRS will send you the money the same way you normally get your benefits. However, the IRS notes that it does not have dependent information for people who do not have to report their taxes, so in these cases, you will not get an additional $ 500 for people in charge of 16 years or less.
What if my income has changed since the last tax return?
If your income increases, your payments don’t have to be refunded. Suppose your last tax return dates from 2019, when you made $ 75,000 and received a down payment of $ 1,200. If you file your 2020 taxes with income of $ 100,000, you will not have to reimburse the payment for the coronavirus, even if technically you would no longer be eligible.
The trickiest situation is when your income goes down. If you file a new tax return showing that you are entitled to a larger payment for coronaviruses, you will get that money, but not right away. When your next tax return is processed, the extra money from the coronavirus will be added.
I owe taxes – will it be deleted?
No. The only amount that will be taken from payments is for people who owe child support.
$ 1,200 won’t cover it – will I receive more payments in the future?
The $ 2 trillion coronavirus bill only allowed this one-time payment, but congressional leaders are already talking about the need for more stimulus packages as the coronavirus epidemic continues. But it is too early to say what will be included in future legislation. Congress also supplemented unemployment insurance by paying $ 600 a week in addition to state benefits.
What if I have more questions?
The IRS has a coronavirus help page on its website and updates the information there.