You have questions about the government stimulus checks. Here are the answers you can trust.

Who gets a payment?

Every adult with a Social Security number who earns no more than the income caps (those in a second) will get an automatic $1,200 payment from the IRS. The income limits are based on your adjusted gross income from your 2019 tax return, or your 2018 return if you didn’t file 2019 yet.

Once you reach the lower limit, your stimulus payment will begin to shrink until it hits zero if you earn more than the upper income limit.

The full payment limits are:

  • $75,000 for single filers
  • $112,500 for head of household filers
  • $150,000 for married couples filing jointly

Once your income passes those limits, the payment will be decreased by $5 for every $100 over the limit. If your income is higher than the upper limit, you won’t get anything.

The upper limits on income are:

  • $99,000 for single filers
  • $136,500 for head of household filers
  • $198,000 for married couples filing jointly

Parents will also get an extra payment of $500 for each dependent child they have aged 16 and under. That means if you have 3 qualifying children, you’ll get $1,500 more, for example.

You can find more detailed information here:

Who Doesn’t Qualify?

Other than people who earn too much to get a stimulus check, there are some other groups that don’t qualify for this money:

  • dependents age 17-23, such as college students or adult children supported by their parents
  • people who don’t have Social Security numbers
  • people who earn more money than the income limits
  • people who are behind on child support payments (possibly)

Do I Have to Sign Up Anywhere?

NO! Payments will be automatically delivered to all eligible adults who’ve filed 2019 or 2018 tax returns.

Watch out for scams!

If you get an email, phone call, or notification saying that you need to sign up to receive your $1,200 payment, it’s a scam.

You will not have to supply any information to get your money. Not your Social Security number. Not your bank routing number. Not your date of birth… annual income… credit card number… or any other personal information.

And you absolutely don’t have to pay any fees or bank charges to get this money.

So if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re liars.

How Will I Get the Money?

If the IRS has your bank information (which they do if you’ve ever had a refund direct deposited), they will automatically deposit the cash in your account.

If they don’t have your banking info, you’ll get a paper check – but that may take months to arrive.

The IRS is working on a secure way for Americans to supply their banking information online. That’s not ready yet, but I’ll let you know when it is.

When Will My Money Come?

The IRS plans to start delivering payments around April 20, 2020. It may take longer than that, and it will definitely take longer if the IRS doesn’t have your banking information to make a direct deposit.

You can find updated information about timelines here: 

What If I Didn’t File My Taxes?

If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes yet, don’t worry.

If your 2018 taxes were filed, the IRS will use that information.

If you haven’t filed in 2018 or 2019, do it as soon as you can.

If you don’t normally have to file an income tax return, you can file a simple tax return with a little bit of income (like $50) just to give the IRS your information.

And if you do need to file a return now to qualify, make sure to include your direct deposit information so you can get your money as quickly as possible.

Will I Have to Pay Taxes on This Money Next Year?

No, this doesn’t count as taxable income.

Will I Have to Pay the Money Back?

No. (At least not the way the law is written right now)

What If My Situation Changes?

A lot of people will have very different financial situations in 2020 than they did in 2018 or 2019.

If you earned too much in 2019 or 2018 to qualify but your income has decreased, you might qualify based on your 2020 income, and could get this money when you file your 2020 taxes.

Any other questions?

This covers the questions people have been asking me – but it doesn’t cover everything. If you have any questions or concerns, or need help filing a tax return so you can qualify, click here to contact me.