The coronavirus has upended the U.S. economy and sent millions of Americans into unemployment. While it isn’t enough to offset everything, Congress did pass some legislation providing a cash infusion to Americans as a way to both help people through a tricky time, as well as try and prop up the economy.
Of course, getting funds out to all Americans isn’t an easy task. Really, the only way to handle such a thing is to tap into the one institution almost every American must interact with, the IRS.
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As is always the case when you try and get to “everyone” someone gets missed, and this big government payout is no exception. If you have the “average” interactions with the IRS your payment is on the way and you don’t have to do anything. If you have a less common situation, then things can get trickier.
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Basically, if you filed income taxes in 2018, or if you’ve already filed for 2019, the IRS will use the same information you provided for any refund, or payment you had. If you didn’t file taxes, either because your income was too low, or because of some other reason, you’ll have to wait for a paper check, that will come much later.
Recently, the government said that they would also use Social Security bank information, which helps a large portion of the population that may have had too little income to file.
Unlike expanding unemployment benefits and some other programs passed in the coronovirus relief law, there is no need to say or prove that you have been impacted negatively by the coronavirus. Every American, subject to income limitations, qualifies for the virus payments.
The income limitations are $150,000 for those married filing jointly, and $75,000 for those who file as single. The payment reduces and eventually phases out for those with higher income. An additional payment of $500 per child is also included. So, a family of four with an income of $100,000 can expect a coronavirus check of $3,000 ($1,200 for each adult, and $500 for each child).
If you want to see if you qualify for the whole coronavirus payout, check the adjusted gross income on your federal income tax form that you filed. You can fined that at line 8b on your IRS Form 1040.
The IRS will use your 2018 income taxes if you have not filed your 2019 taxes yet (the ones due April 15, 2020 — now due July 15, 2020). So, if your income for 2018 was too high to qualify — and it’s lower this year– or if you did not provide banking information on your 2018 taxes, then it is to your benefit to file your 2019 taxes as soon as possible so the IRS will use your 2019 filing instead of the 2018 taxes. The IRS has not announced a cutoff date for when it will use your 2019 or 2018 filing.