The Trump administration keeps telling us that the economic stimulus checks authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will start going out by mid-April. And now, according to The Washington Post, the IRS has a plan to do just that. However, that doesn't mean everyone will get paid in April. In fact, it looks like some Americans won't get stimulus money until September.
Direct deposit payments to go out April 9
The IRS reportedly will start issuing electronic payments through direct deposit on April 9. Those payments should arrive in taxpayers' bank accounts by April 14.
Will you get an electronic payment? It depends on whether the IRS has your bank account information. If you signed up for direct deposit of a refund on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, then the IRS has all the information it needs to pay you electronically. If you haven't filed your 2019 return yet, you still have time before the IRS starts issuing electronic payments if you want your money as soon as possible. You might even get a bigger stimulus check if you file your 2019 tax return now. (On the other hand, you could get more money by waiting to file your return—it all depends on your own situation.)
If you receive Social Security benefits and typically don't file a tax return, the IRS will use information from your Social Security benefits statement to calculate the stimulus check amount. They will also send your stimulus payment electronically if that's how you normally receive your Social Security payments.
For other people who usually don't file a tax return, the IRS plans to create an online portal in the next few weeks where you can file a "simple return" to provide your bank account information.
If a direct deposit payment is rejected (e.g., if the bank account information is incorrect), the IRS will mail you a paper check instead.
Paper checks will take longer
If the IRS has to send you a paper check, you won't get your payment until late April at best. And the higher your income, the longer it will take to get your money. (For taxpayers without children, stimulus check amounts are reduced to zero for single taxpayers with adjusted gross income above $99,000, head-of-household filers with AGI above $136,500, and joint filers with AGI above $198,000.) According to reports, here's the timetable the IRS plans to use for mailing paper stimulus checks:
If you don't want to wait this long to get a stimulus check, file your 2019 tax return as soon as possible so that the IRS has the information it needs to send your payment electronically. If you otherwise aren't required to file a return, file a "simple return" when the IRS makes them available on its website.
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