When do coronavirus relief payments go out? Are you eligible?
Learn whether you're eligible for COVID-19 relief.
By Eric Revell, Countable News
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that President Donald Trump signed into law on March 27, 2020, includes direct cash payments to help Americans dealing with the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Here’s what you need to know about payment amounts, eligibility, and what (if anything) you need to do receive the payment.
How much are the payments? Who is eligible?
- Individuals can receive a direct cash payment (known as a “recovery rebate check”) of up to $1,200 while married couples can receive up to $2,400. Each child adds $500 to a household’s check.
- Payments start to phase-out for individual taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of more than $75,000 and for married filers over $150,000. It decreases by $5 for each $100 earned over that threshold, and phases out entirely for individuals who earned over $99,000 and married filers over $198,000.
- The AGI is based on a person or household’s most recent tax return ― either the 2019 return if it’s been filed or the 2018 return. You can find your AGI in Box 8b of the 2019 federal 1040 tax return form, or Box 7 of the 2018 return.
- All adults with a Social Security number will be eligible. Dependents, estates & trusts, and unauthorized immigrants are ineligible.
- Adults who typically aren’t required to file a tax return, such as certain senior citizens, veterans, and individuals with disabilities will need to file a simple tax return to receive the payment even though they won’t owe tax. (UPDATE: The Treasury Dept. has reversed its decision and won't require Social Security beneficiaries to file a simple tax return to receive the payment, instead relying on their information from the SSA.)
- Based on the criteria in the CARES Act, the Congressional Research Service estimates that 82% of American families will get the full amount, and only 8% of families (primarily in higher-income brackets) will receive nothing.
- USAFacts compiled this table that uses Census Bureau & Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data to show how much different family types at various income levels can expect to receive on average:
When do the payments go out? Are they taxable?
- Taxpayers who have set up Direct Deposit with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will likely receive cash payments on or around April 17, 2020, which is three weeks after the enactment of the CARES Act. (UPDATE: The Treasury now expects Direct Deposit payments to begin reaching bank accounts on April 13, 2020.)
- People who don’t have Direct Deposit set up with the IRS will likely receive paper checks in the mail at the address it has on file several weeks later, likely in early May.
- If you don’t have a Direct Deposit set up but want to, in the next few weeks the IRS is planning to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the agency online so you can receive your payment immediately once it’s available.
- The “recovery rebates” won’t be treated as taxable income on your 2020 tax return.
How do I file the tax return needed to receive the payment?
- If you haven’t filed either your 2018 or 2019 tax return with the IRS, you’re encouraged to do so as soon as possible to avoid a delay in receiving your payment.
- These payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020 if you need to visit a tax professional or community organization for help with your tax return.
- If you aren’t ordinarily required to file a tax return but are in a group that the IRS is encouraging to file a simple tax return so they can receive a payment, you will soon find the necessary information to do so on IRS.gov/coronavirus. The information you’ll need to provide includes filing status, number of dependents, and Direct Deposit bank account information.
(Photo Credit: iStock.com / izzetugutmen)
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