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As part of the stimulus package, you may get a payment from the government.


Angela Lang/CNET

To help US taxpayers ride out the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government committed to a $2 trillion economic stimulus package that includes payments of up to $1,200 to individuals. The first checks may start to go out in three weeks — assuming you qualify to receive a stimulus payment.

It’s expected that roughly 9 of 10 households could qualify to receive a recovery rebate of some amount under the economic stimulus law, which also offers financial aid for businesses knocked back by the pandemic and assistance for unemployed and those with student loans. But not everyone will receive the complete payment, and some won’t receive a stimulus check at all.

Here’s what we know about the individual and household coronavirus relief checks that are part of the federal package — including finding out if you’ll be eligible, how much you can expect to receive and how to receive your payments. We’ll update this story as developments occur. (Here’s how you should spend the money when you get it and how else you can get financial relief.)


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How much you get depends on last year’s taxes

The total amount of your stimulus check will be based on your adjusted gross income, or AGI, from your 2019 federal tax filing or — if you’ve not filed this year yet — your 2018 filing.  

If you’ve filed your 2019 federal tax return, you can find that figure on line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax form. It’s line 7 on the 2018 1040 tax form.

Who is eligible for a stimulus payment?

The amount you’ll receive will depend on your total income in 2019 or 2018. If you qualify, you’ll receive one payment. Here’s who qualifies:

  • If you’re a single US resident and have an adjusted gross income less than $99,000. 
  • If you file as the head of a household and earn under $146,500.
  • If you file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000.

Read on for how your payment is calculated and how much you can expect. You can also look at this calculator.

How much you’ll get as a single taxpayer

A single US resident must have a social security number and an AGI under $75,000 to receive the full amount of $1,200. The sum decreases as your AGI goes up. If your adjusted gross income reaches $99,000, you won’t be eligible for the stimulus. 

Heads of household

If you file as head of a household, you will get the full $1,200 payment if your AGI is $112,500 or less, with the amount decreasing till you reach $146,500.

Couples filing jointly

Married couples filing jointly without children with an adjusted gross income below $150,000 will get a $2,400 payment, decreasing to zero at $198,000. For each child age 16 or younger in the family, parents will get a payment of $500. Older children and other dependents may not be eligible for a payment.

If you haven’t filed federal taxes for 2018, do that right now

The IRS said if you haven’t filed your 2018 federal taxes, that could affect your stimulus check and urges anyone who hasn’t filed a 2018 tax return to file now. Be sure to include direct deposit banking information on the return.

Read more: The best tax software for 2020: TurboTax, H&R Block, TaxSlayer and more

If you’re typically not required to file a tax return, you still can receive a payment

Those people normally not required to file a tax return —  including low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans, persons with disabilities or retirees — will need to file a simple tax return to receive the payment, the IRS said.

The IRS will have soon have instructions for how to file a 2019 tax return on its Coronavirus web page for those who typically aren’t required to file.

When will the checks will go out?

At the White House on Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expects people will begin to receive their checks within three weeks if they have direct deposit set up with the IRS. If you’ve not set up direct deposit with the IRS, the government will mail your check.

You’ll be able to set up direct deposit to have the check sent to your bank account

Secretary Mnuchin said for those who don’t have direct deposit set up but want to receive the payment electronically, the federal government will create an online system that will let you set up electronic payments so you get the money deposited directly into a bank account. The IRS said the online tool will be available in the coming weeks.

Do you need to sign up, apply or request your check?

For most, the federal government will automatically send your check to you electronically or in the mail, if you qualify. If you’ve not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, or if you typically aren’t required to file a tax return, the IRS said you’ll need to file one to receive a payment. The IRS’s coronavirus page will soon have instructions for how to file.

What to do if you don’t receive your check

If you qualify for a payment, you should expect a notice in the mail from the government with information about where and when it sent your check. If you receive the notice but not the check or direct deposit, contact the IRS using information in the notice.

We have tips for how best to use your stimulus check and how to avoid being scammed. In addition to the economic stimulus package, the US government delayed the income tax filing deadline to July 15. If you need more help, here’s how to get financial relief.

source: cnet.com

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