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April 1, 2020
Coronavirus stimulus checks are going to be distributed in the next three weeks, the Internal Revenue Service said Monday, and offered a little bit more clarity on how people can actually get their payments.
To get the paycheck, for the “vast majority” of people, all you have to do is wait. If you have a social security number and filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes, the check will be deposited directly into the bank account you provided on your last tax return.
If you didn’t provide that information on your tax return but want to receive your payment faster than it takes a physical check to arrive in the mail, the Treasury Department is developing an online portal where you'll be able to share your bank account information, although it isn’t complete yet. In the meantime, both the IRS and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have said to expect the check in the next three weeks.
To qualify for the full $1,200 payment, your adjusted gross income needs to have been less than $75,000 (or $150,000 for married joint filers, for a payment of $2,400) when you filed. If you made more than that, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for every $100 above those thresholds. If qualified parents have children younger than 17 years old, there’s an additional $500 in the payment for each one.
Single filers whose income is higher than $99,000 and joint filers without children making above $198,000 are not eligible.
If your salary changed from one year to the next: the government hasn’t provided a cut-off date for looking at 2018 returns, so if you file your 2019 return today, it’s not clear which of the two it will use.
If you aren’t typically required to file a tax return — which the IRS identifies as “low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities” — file a “simple tax return” to receive a check. The simple tax return asks for your filing status, number of dependents, and bank information so that these Americans will be able to receive payments. The IRS will post more information on how to complete this here.
If you don’t have a bank account, government solutions are still cooking. For example, the Senate just introduced new legislation that would give individuals bank accounts with the Federal Reserve, or “FedAccounts” where they can receive their payment.
There are also fintech options for receiving direct deposit, like Square’s person-to-person payments app Cash App. It requires your social security number at registration and provides routing and account numbers so users can receive direct deposits into their Cash App balance.
Of course, there is still the option to have a paper check mailed to you. But if you want a faster, safer payment, keep checking the IRS website, which is constantly being updated with new information as it comes in.