Stimulus Checks, now also known as Economic Impact Payments, are due to enter the accounts of millions of working Americans. Some have already started seeing the money in their bank account and some are still waiting for the funds to come in. Here’s how to find out where your stimulus check is and the status of your payment.
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is causing financial uncertainty for millions of working Americans and businesses. To help those whose livelihoods have been impacted by the virus, the United States Government has passed The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which is a $2 trillion stimulus package intended to provide help to those in need. Although the CARES Act contains several initiatives and programs, the $250 billion set aside as Economic Impact Payments for working Americans and their families has the potential to impact the most people and so remains a hot topic of conversation. With Economic Impact Payments due to be paid directly into the bank account of working Americans, some people have begun receiving them, while others haven’t and you may be one of the millions wondering "where is my stimulus check?"
What is a Stimulus Check?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that Stimulus Checks have recently been renamed Economic Impact Payments, and so you may see the term used interchangeably from now on. Despite the change in name, the initiative remains the same and both names refer to the government's plan to pay working Americans a sum of money to help them during these difficult times.
If you are eligible for a stimulus check then you will receive it as an automatic payment directly into your bank account or as a paper check in the mail, depending on whether the IRS has your bank account information.
If you have a Social Security number, have filed a tax return for either 2018 or 2019, aren’t a dependent of someone else and earn below the maximum amount, then you will be eligible for a stimulus check. Here’s what you could find in your bank account:
- Individuals - If you are a single claimant and have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $75,000 or less then you will receive the full payment amount of $1,200. If you earn over $75,000 then your payment will decrease by $5 for every $100 you earn over the $75,000 threshold. If you earn over $99,0000 then you will not be eligible for a payment
- Married couples - Married couples who have a combined AGI of $150,000 or less are eligible for the full payment of $2,4000. This payment is also reduced by $5 for every $100 the couple makes over $150,000. If, as a couple, you earn over $198,000 then you will not be eligible for a payment
- Those with children - If you are eligible to claim and have children, then you may receive an additional $500 per child, for children aged below 17.
How does the IRS know to pay me my stimulus check?
Most people don’t need to take any action at all because the IRS will use their tax return from either the 2019 or 2018 tax year to work out what they are eligible for and to find the bank account and address details to which to send their check. For these individuals, the payment will be deposited into whichever bank account was listed as the returns account on their tax return.
For returns without direct deposit references
If you did not have a direct deposit reference listed on your tax return, then you could be receiving your check in the mail. The Treasury has also created an online portal for people to provide their banking information to the IRS so that they can receive direct online payments rather than waiting for their check in the mail. Direct online payments are much quicker than the postage system, and so if you need your money urgently, it may be best to check the status of your return through the new “Get My Payment” portal and providing the IRS with your bank information if required.
For those who do not usually file a tax return
For senior citizens, Social Security recipients, railroad retirees and anyone else who does not usually file a tax return, the IRS will use the information on Forms SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 to determine the amount you are eligible to receive and where to send it. The only down-side is that because information for dependants cannot be gathered by the IRS using this method you will not receive additional dependent payments at this time.
If you do not file a tax return because you currently earn below the minimum threshold of $12,000, then you too are eligible for payment but will need to provide your details through the “Get My Payment” portal.
For those who have not filed their tax returns yet
If you have a tax filing obligation but have yet to file your return for 2018 or 2019, then you can still receive a stimulus check so long as you file one as soon as possible. The tax deadline has been extended by the IRS to July 15th from April 15th to give people more time to file their return and pay any outstanding tax. If you need help filing your tax returns for the 2018 or 2019 period then please get in contact with us here at ATAX and we will assist you. If you do not submit your tax return by the April 15th deadline then you may not receive your payment.
Where is my stimulus check?
Although the first stimulus check payments were sent out on Saturday, April the 11th, the scale of the operation means that many people are still waiting to receive their money. It is believed that in order to handle the volume of deposits, the IRS will begin by focusing on making payments to households whose direct deposit information is already on file from their 2018 and 2019 tax returns. Next, the IRS will begin the second round of April payments to those who do not need to file a tax return or are Social Security beneficiaries. Finally, paper checks will be sent at the beginning of May to taxpayers who didn’t receive their payments electronically. In some cases, it has been estimated that people receiving paper checks may be waiting up to 20 weeks for their payment and so if you can, it’s worth entering the online “Get My Payment” portal and inputting your bank information.
How to check the status of your stimulus check?
Understandably, many people are curious to know how long they will need to wait for their stimulus check payment, and so, the US Treasury Department and IRS have launched a Web application called “Get My Payment” that allows users to check their payment status and to add in bank details if necessary. The “Get My Payment” button can be found on the IRS Economic Impact Payment website and has several very important functions including:
- Checking the status of your stimulus check so that you are able to see roughly when it will reach your account
- Allowing those who did not provide direct deposit information on their tax returns to share this information with the IRS, so that they can receive their check digitally rather than in the post
- Enabling those who have not yet received their payment to choose whether to have their stimulus check sent to them in the post or via a digital transfer (A direct digital transfer will be much quicker than a paper check sent in the post, however, the IRS understands that some people may prefer the postal method.)
To find out more about Economic Impact Payments and to see when you can expect to receive your Stimulus Check, go to the IRS Economic Impact Payments Web page where you will find more information about the initiative and can select the blue button “Get My Payment” to monitor your payment status. If you’d like to know more about the other initiatives and programs released as a part of the CARES Act and that aim to help US citizens and businesses struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic, then you can learn more about it here on the U.S Treasury Website. And finally, if you require assistance with filing and preparing your taxes to make yourself eligible for a Stimulus Check payment, then do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at ATAX. We offer a range of accurate, reliable and convenient tax preparation and business services including bookkeeping, payroll, business taxes, and incorporation. Use our office locator to find one of our locations near you or if you can't make it out to one of our offices then give us a call on 1(866)999-2829. We’re here to help.