WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service has begun to distribute stimulus checks of up to $1,200 to millions of Americans as the federal government tries to jolt the economy back to life amid the devastation from the coronavirus pandemic.
The first checks were delivered via direct deposit on Friday and tens of millions will see them appear in their bank accounts by Wednesday, according to the Treasury Department.
Some 50 million to 70 million Americans are expected to get their checks via direct deposit by April 15, according to the Treasury Department. Those who haven’t provided the IRS with their bank account information will get a paper check in the mail, which could take longer, though the department has launched a portal on its website that allows Americans to input their direct deposit information to speed up getting the cash.
The government is distributing the checks under a new $2.2 trillion economic recovery package that President Donald Trump signed into law last month.
The checks are designed to provide a cash infusion to most Americans and revive the economy amid the coronavirus crisis. The recovery package also includes loans, grants and tax breaks for businesses also reeling from the economic fallout caused by the pandemic.
Under the new stimulus law, individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less are eligible for a one-time payment of up to $1,200 ($2,400 for joint tax returns) and $500 for each qualifying child. Those with little or no tax liability also will get $1,200 ($2,400 for joint returns).
The payments start to phase out for Americans who earn more than $75,000, or $150,000 for a joint return. The payments phase out completely for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $136,500 for head of household filers with one child and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
Not everyone is eligible for a stimulus check. Those who will be left out include many students, some elderly and disabled people and immigrants who don’t have a Social Security number. Parents of babies born in 2020 will have to wait until next year to get the per-child rebate since the payments are based on tax returns filed in either 2018 or 2019.
Low-income individuals who didn’t need to file a tax return the past two years because they earned less than $12,000 will be eligible for a stimulus check. But they will need to provide the IRS with some information so the agency can calculate their rebate and know where to send it.
The IRS has set up a web portal that will allow non-filers to register for a stimulus. Those who don’t normally file a tax return can visit IRS.gov and look for “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” There, they can provide information including their Social Security number, name, address and dependents. The IRS will use that information to confirm their eligibility and send them a stimulus payment.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Reach him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.