Coronavirus Stimulus Payments: How to Secure Payment for Non-Filers
As a result of the recently signed CARES Act, the IRS will soon be issuing “economic impact payments” to provide relief during this difficult and uncertain time. You may have heard conflicting information about income tax levels impacting eligibility for payments, which presents unique challenges for those in the disability community who may not file taxes due to income levels. To help provide clarity, this article outlines what you need to know to secure the stimulus payment if traditional income tax filings do not apply to you or your family.
What is an “Economic Impact Payment” and who qualifies?
Under the CARES Act, the federal government will provide direct payments to American households, known as “economic impact payments,” up to $1,200 per adult, and up to $500 per child under 17 years old.
An IRS News Release from March 30, 2020 outlines eligibility as follows:
“[Income] 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. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return.“
Those who filed income tax returns for fiscal years 2018 or 2019 will automatically receive an economic impact payment.
What about people who have not filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019?
If you were not required to file a tax return for 2018/2019, you can still receive payment for yourself and any dependent children under 17 from the IRS by submitting your information online for free at the IRS online portal. The IRS will use this information to determine eligibility and payment amount, and no further action is needed.
If you were required to file an income tax return for 2018 and have not yet done so, the IRS recommends filing your income taxes as soon as possible to receive an economic impact payment. For 2019, the income tax filing deadline has been moved to July 15.
Am I still eligible to receive a payment if I receive Social Security Income and/or Social Security Disability Income benefits?
Yes. The Department of Treasury has announced that Social Security beneficiaries will receive payment via the information provided on your Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099). However, if you have dependent children under the age of 17, and were not required to file income taxes in 2018 or 2019, the Social Security Administration recommends that you utilize the IRS Non-Filer portal above to secure payment for your children.
How and when will payments be made?
Payments will be made via direct deposit or check by mail. If you have provided direct deposit information in 2018 or 2019 income tax filings, or if you provided such information in the IRS Non-Filer portal referenced above, the IRS will directly deposit the amount you qualify for into the bank account you provided. If you are not registered for direct deposit with the IRS, but have filed income taxes for 2018 or 2019, the IRS is currently working on establishing an online portal for you to enter such information. The IRS website indicates this tool will be available “mid-April,” and will be available through the Get My Payment online portal. Otherwise, the payment will be provided to you via check. It is unclear when paper checks will be mailed, but the IRS website indicates direct deposit payments have begun this week.
With announcements that stimulus payments have begun this week, it is important to understand any necessary steps to take in order to secure payment for you and your family. Please also take precautions to avoid scams and fraudulent attempts to collect your personal information during this time. The IRS’ online economic impact payment information center makes clear that the IRS will not contact you asking for personal or bank account information related to economic impact payments.
Please be advised that this article is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. Our office does not specialize in tax law matters. We encourage you to seek assistance from a tax professional for any questions regarding tax matters.
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Woodsmall Law Group remains open to serve our community. If you have a question regarding this or material or would like to arrange a free one-hour consultation to discuss your family’s needs, please contact our offices at (626) 440-0028.