Economic Stimulus Checks: Are You Eligible?

Many taxpayers will receive an economic stimulus check as part of the CARES Act, the federal government’s $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. It is intended to help ease the economic burden caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Payment eligibility

stimulus checkAn eligible individual will receive a cash payment up to $1,200 ($2,400 for eligible married couples filing jointly) as well as $500 for each qualifying child. Eligibility is based on adjusted gross income (AGI) from 2019 tax returns (or 2018 returns if you haven’t filed your 2019 returns).

Individuals who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from Social Security benefits, are also eligible for the payment. Social Security beneficiaries who are not required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an economic stimulus check. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 to generate $1,200 economic impact payments to Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019.

For those who don’t qualify on their most recently filed tax returns, there may be another option to receive some money. An individual who isn’t an eligible individual for 2019 may be eligible for 2020. The IRS won’t send cash payments to him or her. Instead, the individual will be able to claim the credit when filing a 2020 return.

Income thresholds

The amount of the stimulus check is reduced by 5% of AGI in excess of:

  • $150,000 for a joint return
  • $112,500 for a head of household
  • $75,000 for all other taxpayers

But there is a ceiling that leaves some taxpayers ineligible for a payment. The payment is completely phased-out for a single filer with AGI exceeding $99,000 and for joint filers with no children with AGI exceeding $198,000. For a head of household with one child, the payment is completely phased out when AGI exceeds $146,500.

How will I receive the stimulus check?

Most eligible individuals won’t have to take any action to receive the economic stimulus check from the IRS. Taxpayers that have filed electronically and provided bank account information will receive a direct deposit payment into their bank account. Otherwise, the IRS will mail the payment to the last known address.

When will the stimulus checks go out?

Taxpayers should begin receiving their checks within two weeks if the IRS has their direct deposit information. For taxpayers that don’t have direct deposit set up with the IRS, it may take longer to receive the check in the mail. The IRS will release an online portal for individuals to provide their banking information so they can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

More information

Learn more about the economic stimulus checks at IRS.gov.

© 2020

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