Here Are the IRS Rules for Stimulus Payments
Over the last couple of weeks, various articles have been published about the “pandemic relief payment,” often referred to as the “stimulus payment” or “stimulus check.” Sometimes the information in one published article conflicts with information presented in another article, probably because getting the payments started quickly took precedent over completely defining and announcing to the public how payments were going to be processed. So, putting aside all of the previous articles about how pandemic relief payments will be processed, we have found that the the best source of information on this topic is the U.S. Internal Revenue Service which is, after all, the agency that will be processing the stimulus payments. Here is a recap of what the IRS says about payments:
- If you filed a 2018 or 2019 income tax return and it included direct deposit information for a refund, and that direct deposit information is current, you do not need to do anything. Your stimulus payment will be automatically deposited in the account indicated on your tax return. If your direct deposit information is no longer active, the IRS will automatically mail your payment to the last address on file for you.
- If you filed a 2018 or 2019 income tax return but chose not include direct deposit information (e.g., you owed money), you do not need to do anything to get your payment. The IRS will automatically mail your payment check to the last address on file for you. You may be able to speed up your payment by providing the IRS with direct deposit information using their Get My Payment tool at IRS.GOV. If the tool doesn’t allow you to enter direct deposit data, your payment check will be mailed.
- If you have not yet filed your 2019 income tax, you should file your return electronically and include direct deposit information on your return. If you will not get a refund, you may use the IRS’ Get My Payment tool to enter your direct deposit information.
- If you do not file Federal income taxes, but you do receive Social Security retirement, disability, or survivor benefits, or if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or if you receive Veteran’s Benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits, you will automatically receive your stimulus payment in the same manner you receive those other benefits (either direct deposit or mail). However, if you have dependents under 17 who qualify, you will need to use the “Non-filers: Enter Payment Info” tool to claim the dependent benefit. Access this tool at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.
- If you aren’t required to file an income tax return, and you do not receive Social Security, Veteran’s, or Railroad Retirement benefits, you will need to use the “Non-filers: Enter Payment Info” tool to provide the IRS with information on where to send your stimulus payment.
You can check the status of your stimulus payment using the IRS’ Get My Payment tool at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. This tool may also permit you to enter direct deposit information to expedite your payment.
The IRS has sent over 88 million payments thus far and will be sending about 150 million additional payments over the coming weeks and months. Payments are being made earliest to those most in need (based upon income levels) and payments will continue to those eligible through the remainder of this year using a distribution schedule developed by the IRS, with about 5 million payments made weekly. The best way to check the status of your stimulus payment is to use the IRS’ Get My Payment application (link provided above). Your scheduled payment date will be posted there once it is determined by the IRS. Payment status information is updated once daily.
You may also find it helpful to visit this IRS website: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment-frequently-asked-questions#payment.