Somehow haven't filed your 2018 or 2019 tax returns yet? You should if you want your stimulus money soon

By Jason Duaine Hahn
March 31, 2020 08:13 PM
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As the federal government prepares to deliver stimulus money to millions of Americans experiencing financial hardships during the coronavirus outbreak, those hoping to get their funds as soon as possible should make sure to have done one key thing, the IRS recommends.

In new guidelines published this week, the IRS says those looking to receive their money promptly should make certain they’ve filed either a 2018 or 2019 tax return with their bank information for direct deposit. Those who have will see their stimulus funds automatically placed in their bank accounts instead of having it sent by mail.

Even if you did not include your bank information, but did submit either your 2018 or 2019 tax return, you don’t have to do anything else to receive the funds if you already qualify. If you haven’t, you should do so as soon as you can.

And don’t worry — if you haven’t filed your 2019 tax return yet, the IRS will use your 2018 return instead. You still have until July 15 to file your 2019 tax return under the new extension.

For those who don’t normally file a tax return, there will be an alternative option available.

“People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment,” the IRS says. “Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.”

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The money comes as part of a $2 trillion relief package the House of Representatives passed on Friday, which will provide a check of $1,200 for adults with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 a year.

Married couples earning up to $150,000 will receive $2,400 and payments are progressively decreased until they are phased out at $198,000 for couples, according to an analysis by the office of Sen. Chuck Grassley.

In addition, the payments would include an additional $500 per child who is 16 years and under for parents beneath the income threshold.

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But more money a recipient earns a year, the less money they’ll receive from the relief package. Payment amounts decrease by $5 for every $100 made above $75,000, capped for individuals with a gross income of $99,000 and above.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC that the money should begin going out to those who qualify “within three weeks.”

“We’re determined to get money in people’s pockets immediately,” he said.

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