FAQs about Stimulus Checks: When? How much? Will I be taxed later?

Coronavirus

The announcement that stimulus checks are headed to the pockets of Americans is certainly welcome news that’s generated plenty of questions.  We’ll do our best to break down your most common questions. 

Here’s what we know about the stimulus checks and when you might get yours:

How Much Money Will I Get?

The package provides one-time payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under the age of 17. Married couples will receive $2,400.

However, payments phase out for individuals making more than $75,000. For every $100 you earn above the limit, payment drops by $5.

Individuals making more than $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000 will not qualify for a payment.

When Will I Get My Check?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hopes to begin issuing direct payment to taxpayers three weeks after the package is signed into law. 

“Our expectation is within three weeks we will have direct payments out where we have depository information,” Mnuchin previously stated. “We’re looking to get a lot more information and we have procedures to do that.”

According to CNN, the government took longer than a month to distribute checks during similar programs in 2001 and 2008.

Those who had authorized direct deposits to their bank accounts received their money faster. Those deposits were made over a three-week period in 2008, while paper checks were sent through the mail over a 10-week period.

Am I Signed Up for Direct Deposit?

If you aren’t sure, you can file your 2019 taxes and sign up to get your refund via direct deposit. You will want to act quickly!

Is the Check Based on my 2018 or 2019 Tax Return?

According to CNN, your check will be based on your 2019 tax return – if you’ve already filed it.  If you haven’t, it would be based off of 2018.

What If I Didn’t File a Tax Return in the Last Two Years?

For various reasons, you might not have filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019.  Kiplinger reports you can pull information from a 2019 Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, or Form RRB-1099, Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement, to calculate your stimulus check amount.

Kiplinger also reports you won’t lose out on money if you don’t receive a check now – however, you’ll have to wait until next year to get a check.  Kiplinger writes:

“The way the law is written, the checks that will be sent now are actually just advanced payments of a new refundable tax credit for the 2020 tax year. So, if you don’t get a stimulus payment in 2020, you can claim it next year as a refund or reduction of the tax you owe if you file a 2020 tax return by April 15, 2021.”

Will I Get Multiple Checks?

No.  According to Kiplinger, one payment is on the way.  There were some proposals to make quarterly payments to taxpayers.  However, the approved measure authorizes a single check.

Will the Money I Get Now Be Taxed Later?

No. As noted above, the check you receive is really just an advanced payment of a tax credit for the 2020 tax year. Kiplinger reports it won’t be included in your taxable income.

Will Young People Who Live with Their Parents Get a Check?

If a young adult is claimed as a dependent on anyone else’s tax return, they won’t receive a check.  The IRS will look at tax returns from the last two years to determine if someone could claim that young adult as a dependent. 

Will Retired Seniors Also Get Stimulus Checks?

Much like young adults, retired seniors will see checks as long as they are not listed as a dependent for someone else, according to CNN.  They also need to fall within the income thresholds.

Do I Have to Have a Social Security Number to Get a Check?

According to Kiplinger, yes. You must have a Social Security number to receive an economic stimulus check.

What If I Recently Moved?

If you’re set to receive a paper check, it’ll likely be mailed to the last address you had on file.  If you recently moved, you should file a Form 8822 with the IRS and a change of address notice with the U.S. Postal Service, according to Kiplinger.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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