Direct Payments to Americans
As part of the CARES Act, the federal government will be sending rebate payments to Americans across the country in an effort to stimulate the economy as we combat the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“As we work to combat this global health crisis, we must prioritize the needs of struggling families and workers,” said Rep. Joe Morelle. “That’s why this legislation—which provides immediate relief to low-income and middle-class families while ensuring essential supports for small businesses and employees—is so critical. There is much work still to be done, but my colleagues and I will continue taking action to help our communities get through this unprecedented challenge and emerge stronger than ever.”
There are many questions as Americans begin to receive their payments and await further updates. Below are abbreviated versions of the information provided by the Internal Revenue Service. For questions regarding the Economic Impact Payments, click here. For information regarding the IRS Get My Payment tool, click here.
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How much is the payment?
Answer: The amount each qualifying individual receives in their one-time payment will be calculated by the IRS. You can anticipate:
- Individuals earning $75,000 or less will receive $1,200. The payment decreases at a 5% rate above the adjusted gross income of $75,000 until it completely phases out at $99,000.
- Joint filers earning $150,000 or less will receive $2,400. The payment decreases at a 5% rate above the adjusted gross income of $150,000 until it completely phases out at $198,000.
- Taxpayers filing as head of household will get the full payment of $1,200 if they earned $112,500 or less. This payment also decreases at a 5% rate above the adjusted gross income of $112,500 until it completely phases out at $136,500.
- Eligible individuals and joint filers will receive an additional $500 for each dependent child age 16 or under. There is no limit on the number of children eligible for the additional $500.
Who is eligible to receive the rebate?
Answer: You may be eligible to receive a Payment if you:
- Are a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien;
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return;
- Have a Social Security number (SSN) that is valid for employment (valid SSN); and
- Exception: If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, then only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN
- Have adjusted gross income below an amount based on your filing status and the number of your qualifying children.
I recently filed a tax return. What do I need to do to receive my payment?
Answer: You DO NOT need to take any further action if you filed a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019. If you already filed your tax return for 2019, the IRS will use this information to calculate the Payment amount. If you haven’t filed your tax return for 2019 but filed a 2018 federal income tax return, the IRS will use the information from your 2018 tax return to calculate the Payment amount.
I have not filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 as a recipient of Social Security or SSI. What do I need to do to receive payment?
Answer: You are not required to file a tax return and will automatically receive a $1,200 Payment if you received Social Security retirement, SSDI, survivors benefits, SSI, or Railroad Retirement benefits in 2019. You do not need to contact the IRS, Social Security Administration (SSA), or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). The IRS will use the information from your 2019 benefits to generate a Payment to you if you did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. You will receive your Payment as a direct deposit or by mail, just as you would normally receive your federal benefits.
I haven’t filed a federal tax return for 2018 or 2019 and don’t receive Social Security retirement or any other federal benefits. What do I need to do to get a Payment?
Answer: You have to provide basic information to the IRS to receive your Payment. The IRS urges you to take one of the following actions as soon as you can.
- You can use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool to provide simple information to the IRS so you can get your Payment. U.S. citizens and permanent residents can use this tool if they had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples filing jointly) for 2019 and were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and didn't plan to do so. This is the quickest way to get your payment.
- You can file a federal income tax return for 2019 with the IRS even if you receive non-taxable income or do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return.
Have your bank account information available when you use the tool or file so you can get your Payment as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the IRS will mail your Payment to the address you provide.
I receive veteran benefits. DO I need to file a tax return or submit contact information to the IRS to receive payment?
Answer: The IRS continues to explore ways to see if Payments can be made automatically to those who receive veterans disability compensation, pension, or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, but did not file a tax return for the 2018 or 2019 tax year. You can use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool now to quickly receive your payment or wait as the IRS continues to review automatic Payment options to simplify delivery for these veterans and their families.
Who should not use the Non-Filers tool?
Answer: You should not use the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool if any of the following apply:
- You already filed a 2019 tax return.
- You already received your Payment based on your 2018 or 2019 return, even if you did not receive the full amount (for example, because you have a newly born child in 2020 who was not reported on your 2019 return).
- Someone could claim you as a dependent on their 2019 tax return.
- You are married but will not be using the tool with your spouse. You must file a 2019 or 2018 tax return to receive your Payment separate from your spouse.
- You weren’t a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident (green card holder) in 2019. Those who were resident aliens in 2019 because they satisfied the “substantial presence test” and qualify for the Payment must file a tax return to receive the Payment.
I need to file a tax return but am concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person right now to get help with my tax return. How long is the Payment available?
Answer: Payments will be made throughout the rest of 2020. If you don’t receive a Payment this year, you can also claim it by filing a tax return for 2020 next year.
Will the IRS contact me about my Payment?
Answer: The IRS will not call, email, or text you about your Payment. The IRS will not contact you to request personal or bank account information. Watch out for websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information and for schemes tied to Economic Impact Payments. The IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov – the official IRS website – to protect against scam artists. The IRS has issued a warning about coronavirus-related scams. For security reasons, a letter about the Payment will be mailed to each recipient’s last known address within 15 days after the Payment is made. The letter will provide information on how the Payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the Payment.
Is a child born, adopted, or placed into foster care in 2020 a qualifying child for the Payment?
Answer: The Payment in 2020 will not include an additional amount for these children because the Payment in 2020 is based only on information from your 2019 or 2018 tax return. You may claim the child next year for an additional credit on your 2020 tax return.
I claimed my child as a dependent on my 2019 tax return. She is graduating from school in 2020. Will she receive her own Payment?
Answer: No, your child will not receive a Payment in 2020 because you claimed her as a dependent on your 2019 tax return. She will not receive a $1,200 credit in 2021 if you can claim her as a dependent on your 2020 tax return. However, if your child can’t be claimed as a dependent by you or anyone else for 2020, she may be eligible to claim a $1,200 credit on the 2020 tax return she files next year.
I claimed my mom as a dependent on my 2019 tax return. Will I receive an additional Payment for her or will she receive her own Payment?
Answer: No, you will not receive an additional Payment amount for your mom because she is not your qualifying child under age 17. Your mom will not receive her own Payment because you claimed her as a dependent on your 2019 tax return. You mom will not receive a credit in 2021 if you can claim her as a dependent on your 2020 tax return.
Is the Payment taxable as 2020 income?
Answer: No, the Payment is not income and you will not owe tax on your Payment. It will not reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return next year. A Payment also will not affect your income for purposes of determining eligibility for federal government assistance or benefit programs.
How will the IRS know where to send my Payment?
Answer: If you received direct deposit of your refund based on your 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if you haven’t filed your 2019 tax return), the IRS has sent your Payment to the bank account provided on the most recent tax return. If you filed a Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, with your tax return to split your refund into multiple accounts, your Payment was deposited to the first bank account listed. You cannot change your account information.
If you filed your 2019 or 2018 tax return but did not receive your refund by direct deposit, your Payment will be mailed to the address we have on file even if you also receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits by direct deposit. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS).
If you did not receive your refund by direct deposit based on your 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if you haven’t filed your 2019 tax return), you have the opportunity to provide bank account information through the IRS Get My Payment tool before your Payment is processed. Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your Payment.
What if the bank account number I used on my recent tax return is closed or no longer active? Can I switch and be mailed a Payment?
Answer: If the account is closed or no longer active, the bank will reject the deposit and you will be issued a check that will be mailed to the address we have on file for you. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS). You do not need to call the IRS to change your Payment method or update your address at this time.
As required by law and for security reasons, a letter about the Payment will be mailed to each recipient’s last known address within 15 days after the Payment is made. The letter will provide information on how the Payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the Payment.
I already filed my 2019 tax return and owed tax. I scheduled a Payment (electronic funds withdrawal, Direct Pay, or Electronic Fund Transfer Payment System (EFTPS)) from my bank account. Will the IRS send my Payment to the account I used?
Answer: No, the IRS will not send Payments to accounts used to make a payment to the IRS. After you properly verify your identity, the Get My Payment tool will allow you to submit your bank account information if your Payment has not been processed. Providing your bank information is the fastest way to receive your Payment. If we do not have bank information for you, your Payment will be mailed to the address we have on file for you.
What if I don’t have a bank account?
Answer: We will mail your Payment to the address we have on file for you. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS).
My address is different from the last tax return I filed. How can I change my address?
Answer: To change your address:
- If you have not filed your 2019 tax return, enter your new address on your tax return when you file. When your tax return is processed, we'll update our records.
- If you have filed your 2019 tax return and you do not receive direct deposit of your refund, your Payment will be mailed to the address we have on file for you. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS).
- The change of address must be processed before we schedule your Payment.
What effect does this legislation have on the Social Security trust fund?
Answer: It has NO EFFECT on the Social Security trust fund.
Payment recipients: watch for an IRS letter
Answer: For security reasons, the IRS plans to mail a letter about the economic impact payment to the taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is paid. The letter will provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment. If a taxpayer is unsure they’re receiving a legitimate letter, the IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov first to protect against scam artists.
Why am I getting "Payment Status Not Available"?
Answer: The Get My Payment application will return "Payment Status Not Available" for several reasons, including:
- You are required to file a tax return, but:
- We haven't finished processing your 2019 return
- The application doesn't yet have your data; we’re working on adding more data to allow more people to use it.
- You don't usually file a return, and:
- You used Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here but we haven’t processed your entry yet
- You receive an SSA or RRB Form 1099 or SSI or VA benefits; information has not been loaded onto our systems yet for people who don’t normally file a tax return.
- You’re not eligible for a payment (see Eligibility).
- We update Get My Payment data once per day, overnight so there is no need to check more often. If you are eligible for a payment and have provided your information either through a recent tax return or the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here application, please check back for updates.
What does it mean when Get My Payment says, "Need More Information"?
Answer: You are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment (EIP), but we do not have your direct deposit information to send your payment electronically. You should provide your bank information once you have properly verified your identity. Make sure the routing number, account number, and account type are correct. You can find this information on one of your checks, through your online banking applications or by contacting your financial institution directly. Direct deposit is the fastest way to get your EIP.
If you choose not to provide your bank information or prefer to receive your EIP by mail, your payment will be sent to the address we have on file for you.