This article is about the first round of economic impact payments. For more information about the second round of stimulus checks under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, check out the last section of this article.
If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you know that the IRS began sending out Economic Impact Payments to qualifying recipients. These stimulus checks will go out in a few rounds, so don’t panic if you weren’t included in the first send-off.
Economic Impact Payments: Q&A
An Economic Impact Payment is a government-issued stimulus check established under the CARES Act.
The goal is to stimulate the economy by putting money directly into the pockets of individuals suffering from the effects of COVID-19.
If you’re itching to get your hands on your check, take a look at our question and answer segment below.
How much are the checks?
The maximum stimulus check amount is $1,200 per person, or $2,400 per married couple.
The amount you receive depends on your adjusted gross income (AGI). Some high-earning individuals won’t receive a check at all.
Am I eligible?
You will receive the full $1,200 if your adjusted gross income is less than:
- $75,000 (individuals)
- $112,500 (head of household)
- $150,000 (married)
If you have children and are eligible for the $1,200 amount, you are also entitled to an additional $500 per qualifying child. A qualifying child is a dependent under the age of 17.
You will receive a reduced amount if your adjusted gross income is between:
- $75,000 – $99,000 (individuals)
- $112,500 – $136,500 (head of household)
- $150,000 – $198,000 (married)
Your check is reduced by $5 for each $100 above your respective AGI threshold (e.g., $75,000). So, if your individual adjusted gross income is $80,000, your stimulus check would be reduced by $250 [($5,000 / 100) X 5 = $250], and you would receive a check of $950 ($1,200 – $250).
You will not receive an Economic Impact Payment if your adjusted gross income is more than:
- $99,000 (individuals)
- $136,500 (head of household)
- $198,000 (married)
And, you won’t receive a stimulus check if you can be claimed as a dependent, do not have a valid Social Security number, or are a nonresident alien. If you filed Forms 1040-NR, 1040-PR, or 1040-SS for 2019, you also won’t receive a check.
I’m receiving unemployment benefits. Can I get it?
If you’re receiving unemployment benefits, you can absolutely qualify for the Economic Impact Payment if you meet the eligibility requirements.
I took out a PPP loan. Can I get the check?
If you received a Paycheck Protection Program loan, you are still eligible to receive a stimulus check if you meet the Economic Impact Payment eligibility requirements.
Again, the check is meant to provide spending money to individuals to help stimulate the economy. You won’t be disqualified from getting your share if you’re a business owner who took out a coronavirus loan or are claiming coronavirus payroll tax credits.
When can I expect to receive my check?
Individuals will be receiving stimulus checks beginning the week of April 12. Tens of millions of Americans received their stimulus check directly deposited into their accounts on April 15.
If you didn’t receive yours, don’t panic. This is simply the first round of payments. Some may have to wait longer to receive their stimulus payment.
According to a Treasury press release, the first round of payments went to individuals who already filed their 2018 or 2019 tax returns and received a refund from the IRS via direct deposit. Individuals with the lowest adjusted gross income will receive their payments first, according to a spokesperson from the Treasury Department.
Social Security recipients will also automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments (even if they haven’t filed a return).
The IRS will begin sending paper checks before the end of April.
I haven’t filed my 2019 tax return. Can I get the check?
Yes, you can still receive a stimulus check if you have not yet filed your 2019 tax return. If you have not filed your 2019 return yet, the IRS will use your 2018 tax return information to determine whether or not you will receive a stimulus check.
If you have not filed for 2018 or 2019, you need to file a tax return to receive the payment (unless you are considered to be a non-filer by the IRS).
What if I moved or changed my bank account?
The IRS has the mailing address you listed on your most recent tax return (either 2018 or 2019). If you received a refund from the IRS via direct deposit, your information is on file from your most recent tax return.
Direct depositors will receive their checks via direct deposit. If you updated your bank account and haven’t yet filed your 2019 tax return, you can update it by filing a 2019 tax return.
If you do not use direct deposit when filing your tax return and do not want to submit your bank account information to the IRS, you will receive a paper check. If you moved since your most recent tax return, you can update your mailing address by filing your 2019 tax return if you haven’t yet.
You can also submit your banking information to the IRS if you would prefer to receive your stimulus check via direct deposit as opposed to in the mail.
I don’t file taxes. Will I get one?
If you have a filing requirement and have not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, you must file a tax return in order to receive a stimulus check.
If you don’t file taxes because you are not required to, don’t worry. Non-filers are still eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment. If you are not required to file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, you may need to fill out your payment information on the IRS’s website using the “Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here” option in order to receive a stimulus check.
According to the IRS, non-filers can enter their payment information using the IRS’s website if they:
- Had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019
- Were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019 and didn’t plan to
Non-filers will need to provide things like their full name, mailing address, date of birth, Social Security number, bank account information, driver’s license details, qualifying children (if any), and Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (if they have one).
Can I track my stimulus check?
Yes, you can track your stimulus check through the IRS’s website using the “Get My Payment” tool. The tool will give you information about your payment status, payment type (e.g., direct deposit), and whether the IRS needs more information from you. To track your payment, you may need your 2019 or 2018 tax return (depending on if you already filed 2019) handy.
To track your Economic Impact Payment, input:
- Your Social Security number
- The mailing address listed on your last tax return (2018 or 2019)
If the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information, individuals can also use the Get My Payment tool to submit bank account details to receive their stimulus payment.
Are Economic Impact Payments taxable?
Economic Impact Payments are not taxable. You won’t owe taxes on the payment. And, it is not considered income. So, you don’t need to account for it on your 2020 income tax return.
Do I have to pay it back?
No, you do not have to pay back the amount of your stimulus check. The federal government confirmed that individuals will not have to pay back the stimulus payment on next year’s tax filing.
Watch out … a word on scammers
You want your stimulus check, and so do scammers. Be on the lookout for people wanting to take advantage of the situation.
The IRS will NOT call, text, email, or reach out to you via social media. If you receive these types of communication from the “IRS,” do not provide personal or bank account information. And, do not click on any attachments or links.
You can expect to receive a mailed letter from the IRS approximately 15 days after receiving your payment.
Economic Impact Payments: Tools
Use the following IRS tools to ensure you receive your stimulus check:
- Filers: Get Your Payment (check your payment status, confirm payment type, enter your bank account information)
- Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here (provide name, mailing address, email address, birth date, bank account information, etc.)
Second round of stimulus checks
Thanks to new COVID-19 legislation, a second round of stimulus checks went out.
So, what do the stimulus checks look like this time around? Here are some fast facts about the second round of economic impact payments:
- Checks are $600 per individual versus $1,200
- Individuals making less than $75,000 a year or couples making less than $150,000 are eligible
- You can receive an additional $600 per qualifying child with no cap on household size (dependent under the age of 17)
- Like the last round of payments, you may be eligible to receive a reduced amount (depending on your adjusted gross income)
- Adult dependents are not eligible
- Families with members of mixed immigration status with a valid Social Security number for one spouse are also eligible for the payments