Weighing in at a whopping $2 trillion in federal spending, the recently passed CARES Act is one of the most expensive — and expansive — pieces of legislation in our nation’s history. Considering that the CARES Act promises badly needed relief for families across the country, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and frustrated by the convoluted 880-page bill.
In an attempt to clear up as much confusion as possible and get you the answers you and your family need, here’s the skinny on the largest stimulus package passed in American history:
1. How do I receive a stimulus check?
If you filed your 2018 or 2019 tax returns, you don’t need to do anything else! If you haven’t filed taxes for either year, the Feds strongly recommend filing your 2018-2019 tax return — even if there is no filing requirement.
2. Is the check being sent through the mail or direct deposit?
The check will be sent via the same method you received your IRS refund. If you are not set up for direct deposit, your check will be mailed to the address listed on your most recent tax return.
3. What if I recently switched my bank account?
If you don’t use the same bank account on your tax return, the deposit will not go through. In this case, the IRS will mail your Coronavirus check to the address on your most recent tax return.
4. Is the Government using my 2018 or 2019 tax return?
The IRS will first look at your 2019 return to determine your eligibility. If you have not filed your 2019 return, they will look at your 2018 tax return.
5. Is the amount I receive based off of my AGI or total income?
The amount you receive from your Coronavirus stimulus check will be calculated based on your adjusted gross income, not your total income.
6. How will the Government decide how much I receive?
The stimulus plan outlines the amounts based on your adjusted gross income and filing status:
|Filing status||AGI amount||Stimulus check amount|
|Single||$75,000 or less||$1,200|
|Married filing jointly||$150,000 or less||$2,400|
|Head of Household||$112,500 or less||$1,200|
|Dependents under 17*||N/A||+$500|
*Each qualifying dependent under the age of 17 at the end of the tax year will be worth an additional $500 added to the check of their legal guardian.
If your income exceeds the thresholds in the chart above, the amount will be reduced on a sliding scale and phase out at $99,000 for single filers, $198,000 for joint filers, and $136,500 for head of household filers.
The IRS and Department of Treasury have not yet announced how much taxpayers filing married filing separately will receive on their Coronavirus stimulus checks.
7. Who will receive a stimulus check?
To be eligible for a stimulus payment from the Feds, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You must have filed a tax return for tax year 2018, 2019 or have a 2019 Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, or Form RRB-1099, Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement
- Your AGI in 2018 (or 2019) must be below the threshold for your filing status
- You must be a legal resident
- You must not be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return*
- Everyone on your return must have a valid SSN
- Please note: If a spouse or dependent(s) have an ITIN, you are ineligible for the stimulus.
If no 2018 tax return is filed, file a tax return for 2019 as soon as possible to receive your stimulus check.
*Dependents who are claimed on someone else’s return will not receive a check, but if they are under 17 by the end of the tax year, their legal guardian will receive an additional $500.
- What if I didn’t file my 2018 or 2019 taxes?
If you didn’t file, the IRS recommends that you file your 2018 and 2019 taxes as soon as possible.
9. When will my Coronavirus stimulus check arrive?
According to the U.S. Treasury officials, the stimulus payments are expected to arrive in April.
10. Is my Coronavirus stimulus check taxable?
No, the stimulus checks are not taxable. If your 2020 earnings are less than your 2018 or 2019 earnings, a tax credit will be available on your 2020 personal income tax return.
11. Can I get a stimulus check if I receive Social Security?
As long as your total AGI does not exceed the threshold, you will be eligible to receive the Coronavirus stimulus payment — even if you receive Social Security benefits. If you are not required to file taxes but receive Social Security benefits, the government will be able to send you your check as long as you receive Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099. However, the Government still recommends filing your 2018 and/or 2019 returns for prompt delivery***
12. Can I get a stimulus check if I’m on unemployment?
Yes. If you are unemployed and/or receiving unemployment benefits, you will be eligible to receive a Coronavirus stimulus payment.
13. Can I get a stimulus check if I’m self-employed?
Yes. If your AGI does not exceed the threshold, you will be eligible to receive a stimulus payment. If you find yourself out of work, you can also apply for unemployment during this time. Additionally, you may also be eligible for an additional $600 weekly stipend provided by the Government to self-employed workers who find themselves without work during the pandemic.
14. What if my 2018 or 2019 income made me ineligible, but I anticipate being eligible because of a loss of income in 2020?
Unfortunately, individuals who lost significant income in 2020 are not eligible for $1,200 checks this April. However, they may be eligible for a tax credit when they file their 2020 taxes next year. The Treasury Department may create a program to get these people money sooner, but nothing has been announced yet.
If you aren’t up to date on your taxes, there’s still time to qualify for a Coronavirus stimulus check.
Call Community Tax today at (844) 329-2074 or click here for your free consultation. Our dedicated team of tax professionals will help you file and become eligible for a stimulus check.