Most Americans should be receiving a stimulus check from the IRS over the next few weeks. Here’s what you need to know about making sure you’re eligible, how much you will get, when you will receive your money, and how to avoid common scams. 

Will I get a stimulus payment?

You will receive a stimulus payment (aka Economic Impact Payment) if you:

  • Have a Social Security number
  • Filed taxes in 2018 or 2019, or don’t earn enough to file but receive Social Security payments
  • Earned less than $99,000 for single filers, $136,500 for heads of household, or $198,000 for married filers according to the most recent tax return filed
  • Are not claimed by someone else as a dependent

For more information on eligibility, visit the IRS website for stimulus payments.

How much will I get?

Most adults will get $1,200, although some will get less. For every qualifying child age 16 or under, the payment will be an additional $500.

See how much you will be getting with this Stimulus Check Calculator.

Do I need to do anything to receive payment?

If you’ve already filed your 2018 or 2019 tax return…
You don’t have to do anything. The payment will be directly deposited into your bank account or sent to you by check.

If you filed your tax return in 2018 or 2019 but did not provide your direct deposit information on your return, you can provide that information to the IRS through its online Get My Payment portal. This will help you get your money as quickly as possible.

If you have NOT filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019…
You should file as soon as possible in order to receive your payment. Keep in mind that the IRS has extended the deadline for filing your 2019 taxes until July 15, 2020, and you’ll have until the end of 2020 to claim your money.

To receive your money as quickly as possible, make sure to provide direct deposit banking information on the return.

If you’re a Social Security beneficiary who doesn’t need to file taxes…
You’ll receive your economic impact payment the same way you receive your benefits, either by direct deposit or by check.

No matter how you receive your payment, the IRS will send you a letter in the mail to the most current address they have on file about 15 days after they send your payment to let you know what to do if you have any issues, including if you haven’t received the payment.

When will my payment arrive?

The IRS started sending the first wave of payments the week of April 13, starting with payments to people with direct deposit information provided on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns. This group also includes Social Security recipients who filed tax returns and included direct deposit information on their returns.

The second wave will go to Social Security recipients who did not file 2018 or 2019 returns and receive their benefits through direct deposit.

In early May, the IRS will start mailing paper checks to households, at a rate of 5 million per week. The paper checks will first go to the households with the lowest adjusted gross incomes, and continue upwards. Unfortunately, it could take several months for all checks to be mailed.

Check the status of your economic impact payment using the IRS Get My Payment tool.

Is my stimulus payment taxable? Will I have to pay it back?

No, the stimulus payment does not count as taxable income, and you do not have to pay it back.

I received a call from the IRS asking for personal information. Is this a scam?

Yes, this is a scam. With the rollout of economic impact payments, there’s an increased risk of scams. It’s important to stay vigilant and aware of unsolicited communications asking for your personal or private information – through mail, email, phone call, text, social media or websites.

Here are a few ways to spot a scam:

  • Ask you to verify your SSN, bank account, or credit card information
  • Suggest that you can get a faster payment if they fill out information on your behalf or if you sign over your check to them
  • Send you a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, and then ask you to call a number or verify information online in order to cash that check

Be aware that scammers are also able to replicate a government agency’s name and phone number on caller ID. It’s important to remember that the Internal Revenue Service will never ask you for your personal information or threaten your benefits by phone call, email, text or social media.

If you receive an unsolicited email, text or social media attempt that appears to be from the IRS or an organization associated with the IRS, like the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, notify the IRS at phishing@irs.gov.

Learn more about coronavirus-related scams at the IRS Economic Impact Payment Information Center.  

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