Congress has passed a stimulus package available to eligible Americans, based on your 2019 tax return. The bill is called the CARES Act, which you can read here.
If you have already filed your 2019 tax returns, IRS will utilize those. If you haven’t, stimulus checks will be based on your 2018 returns. If you didn’t file either year because your taxable income is low enough not to require a filing, don’t worry. The IRS will still be able to calculate your benefit.
The benefits are: a maximum of $1,200 for each American and up to $2,400 for those who file their taxes jointly. Taxpayers with children also receive a flat $500 per child. If you share children with someone but you do not file jointly, the money goes to the person who claims them as a dependent.
To receive the maximum, you must earn $75,000 or less per year. Joint taxpayers without children can receive the full amount if they earn less than $150,000. Heads of household can earn up to $112,500.
Those who earn more than $75,000, the amount of assistance is reduced until an earner hits the cap. Individual filers without children who earn over $99,000 will no longer be eligible. Joint filers without children can earn up to $198,000 before they no longer qualify.
The stimulus benefit is higher when you have children; and with each child the income threshold rises. Heads of household, or those who file with dependents, can earn up to $112,500 to receive the maximum benefit ($1,200), plus an additional $500 for each child they claim.
If your 2018-2019 tax filings make you ineligible but you would be eligible for assistance based on what you earn in 2020, the funds will be only be available to you when you file your 2020 taxes.
If you have a bank on file with the IRS to receive your tax refunds via direct deposit, you’ll be able to access the funds in a matter of weeks.
If you don’t, paper checks will be mailed to you, but could take up to 4 months. If you’ve lost your job recently, unemployment insurance now allows for an additional $600 a week to each recipient for up to four months.