WASHINGTON — New information from the IRS shines more light on what people can do to get their checks from the government as quickly as possible while many families worry about paying the bills and buying food during the coronavirus crisis, which has cost millions of people their jobs.
For Americans eligible for stimulus cash under the new relief law, the fastest way to receive it is to make sure they've filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018 with bank information so the government can deposit the money directly.
Social Security recipients won't need to file a tax return if they aren't otherwise required to, the agency in a shift in policy mid-week.
The IRS says it will use people's 2019 returns to calculate eligibility and automatically send the money to those who qualify. If they haven't filed a 2019 return, it'll be based on the 2018 return. If they don't have a bank account, they'll get a paper check at their last known address.
The IRS said other Americans who weren't required to file taxes in the last two years will have to file a "simple tax return" with basic information like filing status, number of dependents and bank information in order to get money. That excludes Social Security recipients and railroad retirees, as the agency said it'll use SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 forms where available.
The agency said it would publish more information on irs.gov/coronavirus.
Payments of $1,200 per person, with an additional $500 per child under 17, will be made to U.S. residents with Social Security numbers who earn under $75,000. The amount decreases by $5 per every $100 earned after that, zeroing out at $99,000. For married couples, the phaseout range is $150,000 to $198,000.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said payments will go out "within three weeks" for people who have their direct deposit information on file with the IRS.
"We will create a web-based system for people where [if] we don't have their direct deposit [information], they can upload it so that they can get the money immediately as opposed to checks in the mail," Mnuchin said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."