WASHINGTON – The checks are coming.
One-time payments of up to $1,200 should start going out in the next three weeks to most Americans who file individual tax returns, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says. Those who file joint tax returns will get up to $2,400.
The payments are part of a $2 trillion recovery package negotiated by the White House and congressional leaders to help Americans – and the economy – bounce back from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate passed the package Wednesday and the House is expected to approve it Friday.
The payments will be sent via direct deposit to Americans who already have provided the Internal Revenue Service with their bank account information. For those who haven’t, the checks will be mailed.
Some tax experts question whether the government will be able to meet its three-week timeline for distributing the checks. The wait may be longer for Americans who will get their checks through the mail, said Kyle Pomerleau of the American Enterprise Institute.
“It’s going to take longer for the IRS to process (physical checks), print them and send them,” Pomerleau said.
So how much money should you expect?
It depends on how much you’ve earned in the past two years.
If you’ve already filed your 2019 taxes, the IRS will use those returns to determine your rebate. If not, your 2018 returns will be used to calculate your check.
Individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will be eligible for up to $1,200 ($2,400 for joint tax returns) and $500 for each qualifying child. Those with little or no tax liability will get at least $600 ($1,200 for joint returns.)
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The payments will start to phase out for Americans who earn more than $75,000, or $150,000 for a joint return. The amount you receive will be decreased by 5% of the amount your income exceeds $75,000. For example, a single person with an $85,000 salary would get $700 after subtracting 5% of $10,000, or $500.
The payments will phase out completely for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000, $146,500 for head of household filers with one child, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
You don’t have to apply to receive the money. If you’ve filed income taxes in the past two years, you will automatically get a check.
Another bonus? The checks aren’t taxable.
Contributing: Paul Davidson, Ledyard King
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