TAS Tax Tip: What Steps Do I Need to Take to Get an Economic Impact Payment?

April 20, 2020

  
The Economic Impact Payments are automatic for most taxpayers. For most, including seniors and retirees, no further action is needed if they filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 or received Supplemental Security Income, Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security disability insurance, Veterans Affairs benefits, or Railroad retirement benefits. You can use the IRS’s "Get My Payment" application (described in Step 3) to check the status of your Economic Impact Payment.

While most taxpayers will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payment, others may either be ineligible or may have to take some interim action to ensure the payment is issued properly.

IRS.gov has a "See if you are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment" page which describes more about what the payment is, how much it could be, who is eligible and who is not, and more. However, we thought we would try to break the answer to What Steps Do I Need to Take to Get an Economic Impact Payment? down into some simple steps for you.

Alert: Some payments are already on their way. In fact, the IRS began issuing the payments the week of April 13, 2020. Check to see if the IRS has already issued or scheduled your payment first; see Step 3 below for how to do that.

Anyone can use our new online How Do I Get an Economic Impact Payment? tool to help you walk through the steps necessary. You can also follow these steps.

How Do I Get an Economic Impact Payment?

So, let’s start with step 1;

STEP 1: ELIGIBILITY

First you need to make sure you qualify for the payment.

You qualify if you:

  1. are a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien (you meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test),

  2. are not a dependent of another taxpayer, and

  3. have a work-eligible Social Security number. (For example, an SSN marked “Not valid for employment” that was issued solely to allow the recipient of the SSN to obtain a federally funded benefit, such as Medicaid, does not qualify.)
  • Exception for members of the military: If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, then only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN.

You do not qualify if:

  1. Your adjusted gross income is greater than:

    1. $99,000 if your filing status was single or married filing separately with no qualifying children
    2. $136,500 for head of household with no qualifying children
    3. $198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly with no qualifying children

      • Each of these threshold amounts increases by $10,000 for each qualifying child.

  2. You can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return. (For example, this would include a child, student or older dependent who can be claimed on a parent’s return.)

  3. You do not have a Social Security number valid for employment. (For example, an Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) does not qualify.)

  4. You are a nonresident alien and filed Form 1040-NR or Form 1040NR-EZ.

  5. You filed Form 1040-PR or Form 1040-SS for 2019. Special rules in the law apply to U.S. territories (possessions). In general, the tax authorities in each territory will make Payments to eligible residents. People in these territories with questions about the Payment should contact their local tax authority.

STEP 2: INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE NOT FILED RETURNS

  • If you did not file a Federal return for 2018 or 2019, but were required to, you should file your 2019 return as soon as you can using e-file and direct deposit (if claiming a refund). You should still file your 2019 return as soon as possible even though the April 15th regular filing and payment due dates have been postponed to July 15. Even if you owe and can’t pay, you should still file your 2018 and 2019 returns as soon as possible to limit penalties and interest that may be accruing.

  • If you were not required to file because your income was under the $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples), the IRS needs more information to get your economic impact payment to you.

    • Go to the IRS.gov website and click on the link to the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” section where you can provide basic information the IRS needs to issue your payment. Make sure to provide direct deposit information to receive your economic impact payment sooner.

  • If you only receive Supplemental Security Income, Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security disability insurance, Veterans Affairs benefits, or Railroad retirement benefits, and receive these payments by direct deposit, you do not need to take any action. The IRS will direct deposit your economic impact payment to the account where you normally receive your benefits.

STEP 3: FIND OUT THE STATUS OF YOUR PAYMENT

The only thing left to do, is find out the status of your payment. Well, there’s an APP for that called “Get My Payment.”

  • To do this, go to IRS.gov and click on the Get My Payment button.

    • You can use this tool to:

      • Check your payment status.
      • Confirm your payment type: direct deposit or check.
      • Enter your bank account information for direct deposit, but you can do this only if the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information and they haven't sent your payment yet.

Special note: if you just recently filed your Form 1040 or filed a return under step 2 above through the Non-filers tool – you will not be able to get information from this tool until after your information is processed.

DIDN’T GET YOUR PAYMENT?

Be aware that if you owe back child support, you may not receive a payment or will receive a reduced payment, as your payment will be applied toward that debt.

More information will be coming soon with instructions to follow, if the IRS says your payment was issued, but you did not receive it or received an incorrect amount.

Please visit the IRS’s Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments page frequently as information is updated daily.

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