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


Angela Lang/CNET

US taxpayers may be eligible for as much as $1,200 apiece in economic stimulus payments that are part of the government’s $2 trillion relief package intended to help ease the financial fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re eligible, the IRS and Treasury Department will offer to deposit the check directly into your bank account — including for Social Security recipients.

It’s estimated that nine in 10 US households could qualify to receive an economic impact payment, as the IRS terms it. In addition to payments of up to $1,200 for individuals who meet the requirements, the new economic stimulus law also includes help for the unemployed and those with student loans knocked back by the COVID-19 disease, as well financial support for small businesses.

The first stimulus checks should begin to go out around the second week of April, but not everyone will receive a complete cash payment and some won’t receive a stimulus check at all.

So how do you find out how much you can expect to receive and how to receive your stimulus payments? Keep reading, we’ll tell you. We’ll also continue to update this story as developments occur. Here’s more information on how you should spend the money when you get it, how to avoid getting scammed and how else you can get financial relief during the coronavirus outbreak.


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How much stimulus money you get depends on your 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 haven’t filed this year — 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. If you haven’t filed this year, don’t worry. The US government has delayed the due date for 2019 taxes to July 15 as a result of coronavirus.

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 from the Washington Post.

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Every little bit helps.


Angela Lang/CNET

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

Many who normally are not required to file a tax return — including low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, some veterans, people 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.


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What about Social Security recipients?

The Treasury Department said that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will  not need to file an abbreviated tax return will not need to file a payment. Instead, the government will automatically deposit funds into their bank accounts.

When will the checks will go out?

At the White House on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he expects the first people will begin to receive their checks within two weeks if they have direct deposit set up with the IRS. If you’ve not set up direct deposit with the IRS, it may take longer and 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 by mid-April. To avoid scams, the IRS cautions, don’t provide your direct deposit or other banking information to others who offer to help you set up electronic transfer.

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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