2020 IRS Stimulus Checks / Economic Impact Payments

On March 25, 2020 Congress unanimously passed an economic stimulus package that allows for taxpayers to receive stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per adult.

On April 11, 2020, the IRS began its first wave of payments. Taxpayers who have filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019 and who have authorized direct deposit started receiving their stimulus payments, which are formally called ‘Economic Impact Payments’. Those who haven’t filed returns because they were not required to will likely have to wait a little longer.

An eligible single or married filing separate taxpayer will receive a $1,200 check.

An eligible head of household taxpayer will receive a $1,200 check.

Eligible married individuals will receive up to $2,400.

Eligible taxpayers with children will receive an extra $500 per child. Dependent children over the age of 16 will not qualify.

Stimulus payment calculator

Feel free to use our payout calculator to determine your possible payout.

If your income exceeds the following thresholds, your payment is reduced by 5% for each dollar above the threshold until it is completely phased out.

  • $75,000 for individuals
  • $112,500 for head of household filers and
  • $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns

Who does not qualify for stimulus checks?

Those with adjusted gross incomes more than the following threshold with not qualify:

  • $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
  • $136,500 for head of household
  • $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly

Non-resident aliens are not eligible to receive stimulus checks.

Individuals without social security numbers will not be eligible to receive Economic Impact Payments. Therefore, those with ITIN numbers will not be eligible.

Any taxpayer who is an adult dependent of another taxpayer is ineligible for a payment.

If you filed Form 1040-NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR or Form 1040-SS for 2019.

Deceased taxpayers and incarcerated taxpayers are ineligible to receive payments. Such taxpayers that have received payments, must return them to the IRS.

When will stimulus payments be sent out?

IRS began its first wave of direct deposit stimulus payments on April 11, 2020. Payments will continue over weeks, perhaps months, until about 80 million Americans receive their payments.

The IRS stated that Social Security benefit recipients should receive payments by direct deposit, Direct Express debit card, or by paper check, just as you usually receive your SSI benefits.

What do I need to do to get a stimulus check?

Non-filers (people that were not required to file a tax return in 2018 or 2019)

The IRS has made available an online portal for non-filers to provide their information. If you did not file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return because your gross income was under $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) or you weren’t required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return for other reasons,  you can sign up on the IRS website.

However, if you receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits or Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits, you don’t need to sign up unless you have children under 17.

  • SSA/RRB recipients with children and who didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, have a limited window to register to have $500 per eligible child added automatically to their soon-to-be-received $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. A quick trip to a special non-filer tool on IRS.gov by noon Eastern time, Wednesday, April 22.*
  • SSI and VA recipients with children and who didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return have until May 5th* to include their dependents  through the special non-filer tool on IRS.gov
  • If people in these groups fail to sign up by the deadline, the taxpayer will have to wait to file the 2020 return to get the extra $500 payments. Source: IR-2020-76, April 20, 2020

*UPDATE 8/14/2020: The IRS has re-opened the non-filers portal so that taxpayers with qualifying children who missed the earlier deadlines can still get their $500 payments for their children. You must register on non-filer portal by September 30, 2020. Source: IR-2020-180, August 14, 2020.

Filers (people that were required to file a tax return 2018 or 2019)

Check on the status of your Economic Impact Payment through the ‘Get My Payment’ tool (link here).

This application will give you information about:

  • Your payment status
  • Your payment type
  • Whether the IRS needs more information from you, including bank account information

On April 26th, the Internal Revenue Service announced significant upgrades to the “Get My Payment” tool and encouraged taxpayers to check out the tool again.

The enhancements adjusted several items related to the online tool. The additional changes will help millions of additional taxpayers with new or expanded information and access to adding direct deposit information.

Some of those improvements include:

  • The ability to check payment status for closed bank accounts
  • Better access to taxpayers who filed in 2018 but did not provide direct deposit information
  • More taxpayers getting payments quickly by being able to add direct deposit information

I receive Social Security benefits. What do I need to do?

If you receive social security retirement or disability (SSDI), you do not need to do anything. The IRS will deposit money in the same account that your benefits are deposited into.

However, if you have dependent children under age 17, you can get $500 for each such dependent by providing their information on the online portal.

What if I want my stimulus check direct deposited but the IRS does not have my direct deposit information?

Use the Get My Payment tool enter your bank information to receive your payment through direct deposit instead of by mail if your payment has not already been scheduled.

If the Get My Payment application indicates your payment has been processed, you cannot change your bank account information.

Will the stimulus check be taxed?

Stimulus payments will not be taxable.

Does the money have to be paid back?

No, it is a credit and not a loan. It does not have to be paid back.

However, if you don’t file your 2019 return and the IRS sends a payment based on your 2018 return, you may have to pay it back if you don’t qualify based on your 2019 return. The IRS hasn’t clarified on this issue either way.

Will the stimulus payments be offset by back taxes or student loans?

The CARES Act makes temporary changes to the Treasury Offset Program so that your stimulus payment will not be reduced if you have past due student loans or owe back taxes. However, if you owe child support, your payments may be reduced.

Why am I getting “Payment Status Not Available”?

The Get My Payment application will return “Payment Status Not Available” for several reasons, including:

  • Your income is too high and you don’t qualify
  • You do not have an SSN
  • You’re claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return
  • You recently filed your 2019 return file a tax return but the IRS hasn’t finished processing it
  • You used ‘Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here’ but the IRS hasn’t processed your entry yet
  • You receive SSI or VA benefits and don’t file a return; this information has not been loaded onto the IRS systems yet for people who don’t normally file a tax return.

If you receive “Payment Status Not Available”, you will not be able to provide direct deposit information at this time.

What number can I call for questions about my stimulus check?

Check your payment status on the IRS’ website here.

The IRS updates the Get My Payment data once a day, overnight. So you can check it the next day if you’re not able to access it or are getting an error message.

On May 18, 2020, the IRS announced that is adding 3,500 telephone reps to answer questions regarding their stimulus payments.

You can call 1-800-919-9835 to reach the automated message. You’ll then have the option to talking with a phone rep at the end of the automated message.

What to do if stimulus check is wrong?

1. Calculate the correct amount

To begin, you’ll need your AGI from the last tax return you filed.

Then either do your calculation or check out our stimulus payment calculator.

Payments are subject to income thresholds.

To receive a stimulus check, your adjusted gross income (AGI) must not exceed:

  • $75,000 for individuals
  • $112,500 for head of household filers and
  • $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns

If you have children under 17, you’ll eligible to receive up to $500 per child (subject to the same income thresholds).

Your payment is reduced by 5% for every dollar above the threshold.

2. Wait for a letter from the IRS

The IRS will send all stimulus recipients a letter in the mail 15 days after the payout. The letter should confirm how the amount was calculated and steps to take if the amount needs to be corrected.

3. Contact the IRS

On May 18, 2020, the IRS announced that is adding 3,500 telephone reps to answer questions regarding their stimulus payments.

You can call 1-800-919-9835 to reach the automated message. You’ll then have the option to talking with a phone rep at the end of the automated message.

COVID-19 Scams

The IRS states that if you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond.  These are scams.  Please contact the FBI at www.ic3.gov so that the scammers can be tracked and stopped.

85 thoughts on “2020 IRS Stimulus Checks / Economic Impact Payments”

  1. I have checked the get my payment and it states “Payment status not available”. My spouse and I filed married filing separately and received our tax refunds from our taxes however we didn’t receive the stimulus. I have called several times and they transfer me to an IRS agent and then I reach a recording that states “unable to take your call at this time”. I called the 844-545-5640# to make an appointment at my local office and get the recording “the call volume is too high and to try again later”.
    We are both front line workers and have not received either stimulus check.
    I know that I can file to get it with taxes I would just like to understand why we have not received it yet.
    We are not over the income requirements either.


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