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Show me the money: The facts on stimulus payments

April 16, 2020

Show me the money: The facts on stimulus payments

April 16, 2020

Updated 4/27/2020 with new information for people receiving Social Security payments (retirement, disability or survivor benefits), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs benefits or Railroad Retirement: If you have not filed taxes in the last two years and wish to claim dependents using the IRS portal, you must do so before noon on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

Federal policymakers passed the $2 trillion federal stimulus legislation to help Americans get by during the COVID-19 crisis and boost the national economy. Lawmakers included a provision to give many Americans a one-time stimulus payment, also called economic impact payments.

Too many Ohioans are uncertain about whether they qualify for a payment and how to get it if they do. This fact sheet is intended to help people, including those who have no or little income, or who have insecure housing, claim their stimulus check. This short guide reflects what we know about this program as of April 16, 2020. Additional information and guidance are in the works.

Who qualifies?

Your stimulus payment will be based on the adjusted gross income on your most recent tax return, either 2018 or 2019.

  • Individuals with annual earnings below $75,000 will qualify for $1,200. If the individual is a head of household as determined by the IRS, the person can earn up to $112,500 and get $1,200. Parents will receive an additional $500 for each child under 17 years old.
  • Married couples earning less than $150,000 will get $2,400. They will receive an additional $500 for each child under 17 years old.
  • People without income can receive a stimulus payment. So can people who receive social security retirement benefits, disability benefits, SSI, veteran benefits, and railroad retirement recipients.

Who does not qualify?

  • Dependents who are claimed for tax purposes by someone else will not receive a payment. This includes college students, adults with disabilities and senior citizens who receive social security but are claimed as dependents by parents or other relatives on their taxes.
  • Non-resident Aliens or anyone who does not have a work-eligible Social Security Number. People with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), even if they have children who are U.S. citizens, will not receive a payment.
  • People with high salaries will not receive a payment. Individuals who are paid $99,000 a year or more, head of household tax filers who are paid $136,500 a year or more and married couples who are paid $198,000 or more a year do not qualify. Tax filers who were paid too much to qualify in 2019, but lose their job or income in 2020, won’t get a payment now, but will pick up the credit when they file their 2020 taxes.
  • People who owe back child support may not receive a rebate. The law does not allow the payment to be garnished for federal student loan debt or back taxes, but it does permit garnishment for child support arrearages.

How do I get a stimulus payment?

People who do not normally file federal taxes because their income does not exceed $12,200 as an individual or $24,400 for a married couple, people receiving TANF, SNAP, or other benefits who do not file taxes and veterans’ benefits are eligible for the stimulus check, but they have to register through the IRS Non-Filer portal to process their payments.

The portal is a free service and is available at: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here

People receiving Social Security payments (retirement, disability or survivor benefits), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Affairs benefits or Railroad Retirement will get a stimulus payment automatically. They do not need to file federal income taxes to receive their payment. However, if the claimant has dependents under the age of 17 and did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, they may want to use the IRS portal in order to receive the $500 per dependent supplement. According to the IRS, beneficiaries of the above mentioned programs who have not filed taxes in the last two years and wish to claim dependents using the IRS portal must do so before noon on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. If they miss this deadline, these filers will only receive the individual stimulus payment amount in 2020. The supplement for dependents will have to be claimed next tax season, in 2021.

Everyone else must file income taxes to receive a stimulus payment. The IRS will determine the amount of payments and where payments will be sent using the 2019 federal income tax filing. If there is no 2019 filing, the 2018 tax filing will be used. If federal income taxes were not filed in 2018 or 2019, there is still time to file for 2019.

This stimulus distribution system can make it harder for people with very low incomes and those without stable housing to claim their payments. Based on the available federal guidance we have identified the following strategies to help more people get the money they need.

How can I file my taxes?

There are two primary ways to get help filing your taxes: free provider services or paid provider services. Free tax provider services do not charge to file taxes and allow people to keep more their refund. Paid tax provider services charge hundreds of dollars to file taxes and may also offer expensive unneeded products and services.

  • Free tax preparation sites were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but when Governor DeWine lifts the stay at home order, the nearest site can be identified by calling 1-800-906-9887.
  • The IRS recommends several online free tax preparation services on their website: https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free.

How will I get my payment?

People who receive Social Security and Railroad Retirement payments will receive their stimulus payment the same way they regularly receive their check.

If the federal income taxes were filed for 2018 or 2019, the stimulus payment will be sent the same way the last federal refund was sent.

  • If the last refund was mailed by check, the stimulus payment will be mailed by check to the same address.
  • If the last refund was direct deposited into a bank account or prepaid debit card, the stimulus payment will be sent to that same bank account or prepaid debit card.

The IRS estimates it will take several weeks to mail all of the paper checks. Allowing the IRS to direct deposit they payment will take much less time. People without a bank account can have their payment direct deposited to nearly any financial tool that has a bank routing number. Financial products to have payments direct deposited include:

  • Pre-paid debit card with a bank routing number
  • Online financial services like Cash App
  • Online bank accounts like Chime

It is important to note that some of these products may have additional fees.

If you will get a paper check, but want to receive a direct deposit, the IRS has launched the online Get My Payment tool. The tool will allow people to enter a financial product where they want the payment to go. It will also provide information on when the payment will be sent. It is available at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

Some Ohio banks will cash stimulus checks for noncustomers for free at https://www.ohiobankersleague.com/customers

What if I don’t have a permanent address?

You do not need a permanent address to file a tax return or register to receive the stimulus check through the IRS portal. As with the earned income tax refund, shelters or other service providers like clinics or day centers can allow clients to use their address for tax filing purposes. Organizations that provide this service must have mail handling procedures that are secure and ensure the checks reach the intended recipient. People can also use a relative or friend’s address. Shelters, food banks, clinics, and other service providers may consider educating their clients about stimulus checks and other tax programs, like the earned income tax credit.

Are the stimulus payments taxable? Is it a loan on my tax refund?

The payment is not taxable and will not affect your tax refund next year. It is a prepaid tax credit. For example, if you are single, with no dependents, with earnings under $75,000 and expect a $100 tax refund when you file your taxes for 2020 in 2021, you will get a total refund of $1,300, with $1,200 of that refund already being paid out this year.

What’s the deadline to file federal income taxes?

The new deadline to file federal income taxes is July 15, 2020. The economic impact payments will be available through the rest of 2020.

Get the latest updates from the IRS about the stimulus payments: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

Tags

2020CoronavirusEconomic StimulusKalitha WilliamsOhio CASH

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