The Coronavirus Stimulus Payment Has Been Sent Out to Over 80 Million Americans, Here’s What You Need to Know

Over 80 million Americans will receive their coronavirus stimulus payments of up to $1,200 by the end of today, April 15. Everyone else will get their check in the mail, unless they set up direct deposit with the IRS before their payment is processed.

Here are a few common questions regarding the coronavirus stimulus payments.

Is the money yours, free and clear?

Yes. You don’t have to pay taxes on any stimulus payment you receive from the IRS. It’s also not an advance on your usual tax refund. If you get a check now your 2019 tax refund won’t be smaller as a result.

How much stimulus money do you get?

The total amount of your stimulus check will be based on your adjusted gross income, or AGI, from your 2019 federal tax filing or — if you haven’t filed this year — your 2018 filing.   

Who’s eligible for a stimulus payment?

The amount you’ll receive will depend on your total income in 2019 or 2018. If you qualify, you’ll receive one payment. You qualify: 

  • If you’re a single US resident and have an adjusted gross income less than $99,000
  • If you file as the head of a household and earn under $146,500
  • If you file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000

How much you’ll get as a single taxpayer

A single US resident must have a Social Security number and an AGI under $75,000 to receive the full amount of $1,200. The sum decreases as your AGI goes up. If your adjusted gross income reaches $99,000, you won’t be eligible for the stimulus. 

Heads of household 

If you file as head of a household, you will get the full $1,200 payment if your AGI is $112,500 or less, with the amount decreasing till you reach $146,500. 

Couples filing jointly 

Married couples filing jointly without children with an adjusted gross income below $150,000 will get a $2,400 payment, decreasing to zero at $198,000. For each child age 16 or younger in the family, parents will get a payment of $500. Older children and other dependents may not be eligible for a payment.

If you haven’t filed federal taxes for 2018, do that right now 

If you haven’t filed your 2018 federal taxes, that could affect your stimulus check and urges anyone who hasn’t filed a 2018 tax return to file now. Be sure to include direct deposit banking information on the return. 

If you’re typically not required to file a tax return, you could still receive a payment 

Many who normally aren’t required to file a tax return — including senior citizens, Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients and railroad retirees — will not need to file a simple tax return to receive the payment, the IRS said. 

When will the checks will go out? 

You should receive your check today if you’ve set up direct deposit with the IRS. If you haven’t, it isn’t clear when the agency will send your check in the mail, but it can take weeks or even months.

For more ideas, read our recent article “How to Build an Emergency Fund.”

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