Americans who qualify for the coronavirus stimulus check have until noon on Wednesday, May 13, to submit the information needed to give them a chance of receiving their money directly to their bank account. After that deadline, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said the number of paper checks being delivered to taxpayers will sharply increase, which will likely arrive either later this month or in June.
The economic impact payments - as they are formally known - were first announced at the end of March as part of the $2 trillion emergency economic package promised by President Donald Trump to help Americans cope with the downturn caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. With unemployment soaring and incomes being hit across America, many households will be relying on the payment to avoid using the best credit cards and personal loans to bridge financial gaps.
How do I register for faster stimulus check payment?
Around 130 million individuals have already received payments worth more than $200 billion in the program's first four weeks alone. However, to ensure more people get their payments faster, the IRS says that taxpayers who did not choose direct deposit on their last tax return, but want to receive their stimulus payment straight into their bank account rather than by paper check, should visit Get My Payment on IRS.gov by noon Wednesday, May 13, to check on their payment status and provide their direct deposit information. After the deadline, the IRS will begin preparing millions of files to send to the Bureau of Fiscal Services to arrange paper checks that will begin arriving through late May and into June.
"We're working hard to get more payments quickly to taxpayers," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "We want people to visit Get My Payment before the noon Wednesday deadline so they can provide their direct deposit information. Time is running out for a chance to get these payments several weeks earlier through direct deposit."
Who is eligible for the stimulus payment?
Finding out how to get the coronavirus stimulus check will have been a priority for many Americans over the last month or so. Eligible individuals are in line to receive up to $1,200, while married couples could receive up to $2,400. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child aged 16 or younger.
Taxpayers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 (or $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns) qualify for full payments. However, for those earning more, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds - this means that individuals who earn more than $99,000 and joint filers with a combined income of more than $198,000 with no children will not receive any payment at all.
Do I need to apply for the stimulus payment?
The way the system works is that eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 should receive their stimulus payments automatically. Those in receipt of Social Security retirement, disability benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Veterans Affairs benefits, or Supplemental Security Income can also expect to receive their payments automatically soon.
For those who do not normally file a federal tax return, a simplified tax return must be completed to ensure they receive any stimulus payment that is due. To do this, they must visit the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool to submit basic information that should allow the IRS to process their payment. Anyone who doesn’t receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefits are encouraged to use the tool.
Watch out for stimulus payment scams
The IRS also takes the opportunity to urge taxpayers to look out for coronavirus scams related to the payments. Just last week, it was warned that tax-related identity theft is likely to rise after the tax-filing deadline was pushed back to July 15, and because of the opportunities presented to scammers by the stimulus payments.
Importantly, people are told to only visit IRS.gov to get information about their economic impact payments and reminded to watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments - the IRS will not contact taxpayers using these methods. E-filers are also reminded of the importance of using the best identity theft protection services to combat such fraud.