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Taxpayers can now track payments


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When you get your stimulus check and how much you get depend on several factors.

USA TODAY

Slowly but surely, taxpayers are telling their friends and posting on social media that they’re seeing stimulus checks arrive in their bank accounts.

And the Internal Revenue Service is expected to give you a new online tool as soon as Wednesday to get a better clue on when you’ll see your Economic Impact Payment via IRS.gov/eip. The IRS said the tool will let you go online to check the status of a payment, including the date it’s scheduled to be deposited or mailed. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a news briefing Monday that Treasury is ahead of schedule in getting the money out and expects that more than 80 million people will receive their stimulus money by Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Treasury expects that a “large majority of eligible Americans will receive Economic Impact Payments within the next two weeks.”

If you do not see the money in your bank account by then, Mnuchin said you can go to IRS.gov to see “Get My Payment.” If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and did not receive a stimulus payment, he said, make sure to have your tax return information available to use at the “Get My Payment” tool later this week.

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The goal is to provide as much money via direct deposit as possible and avoid mailing paper checks during the pandemic. “We want to do as much of this electronically as we can,” Mnuchin said Monday. 

Some consumers spotted the first direct deposits as early as Saturday; others started seeing more information Monday. The IRS even tweeted Saturday evening that the agency deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into bank accounts Saturday. 

“We know that many people are anxious to get their payments,” the IRS said via its tweet. “We’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can.” 

Don’t expect to see words like “stimulus checks” or “recovery rebate” or “economic impact payment” on your bank statement. The wording being used is “IRS Treas 310.” 

Avoid stimulus check scams

Remember, avoid scams. The IRS isn’t going to call you to make sure you got your check and then demand your bank account information over the phone. You’re not being asked to pay any fees for the stimulus money. 

You’d get that money automatically deposited into your account if you’ve already given the IRS direct deposit information for tax refunds when you filed a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return. 

And you’d get that money automatically if you receive Social Security retirement or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or receive Railroad Retirement benefits via direct deposit. 

Taxpayers continue to have a slew of questions relating to the stimulus money, which is being released in waves. Here’s a look at some questions and answers: 

When will I get my stimulus money?

When you actually get your money can vary. The first group would include people who have already given their bank account information to the IRS for the direct deposit of tax refunds on 2018 or 2019 tax returns. 

In addition, Social Security beneficiaries who filed federal tax returns that included direct deposit information would be part of that first group. 

The second wave of money could hit bank accounts as early as the week of April 20 for a group of people who receive Social Security benefits via direct deposit but may not make enough money to be required to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019. Most in this group will not need to file any extra forms to receive this money. 

Who gets a check instead of direct deposit? When do checks get sent? 

Unfortunately, some people will need to wait to get checks if the IRS does not have your direct deposit information. The first round of checks is expected to go out in late April or possibly the first week in May. 

The first paper checks are expected to go out to families who have the lowest incomes, possibly those who make less than $10,000 a year, but who do not have direct deposit information on file with the IRS. 

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Other waves of checks, based on incomes, will be sent weekly. But it could take a few months for all the checks to go out. 

How will I know when the stimulus money is coming? 

Check your bank account. But also realize that the IRS plans to mail a letter about the economic impact payment to the taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is paid. The letter will provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment. If a taxpayer is unsure they’re receiving a legitimate letter, the IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov first to protect against scam artists.

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How much stimulus money will I get?

How much money you get will depend on your adjusted gross income, based on information on your 2018 or 2019 tax return. 

Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment.

The maximum is $1,200 for an adult – $2,400 for a married couple  – and then you’d get $500 for children under age 17. 

Taxpayers would have an opportunity to reconcile some differences relating to stimulus payouts when they file the 2020 tax return in the 2021 filing season.

“You’ll get any additional money due to you then, but you won’t have to pay anything back if your payment was too high,” according to Jackie Perlman, principal tax research analyst with H&R Block’s Tax Institute. 

Can you receive less than $1,200 or less than $2,400?

Yes. Filers with incomes above $75,000 for singles or $150,000 for married couples filing a joint return could receive a reduced payment.

The payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the thresholds.

The possibility for a payment vanishes for single filers with incomes exceeding $99,000 and married couples filing joint returns with incomes exceeding $198,000 if they have no children who are eligible.

Do I need to take any action to get stimulus money?

Some people with low-incomes do need to give some information to the federal government first online, especially if you typically do not file a tax return.

“If you receive veterans disability compensation, a pension, or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or your income level does not require you to file a tax return, then you need to submit information to the IRS to receive an Economic Impact Payment,” according to the IRS. 

Can I get my stimulus money deposited into a PayPal account? 

Yes. PayPal announced that customers with a PayPal Cash Mastercard can receive their stimulus payment directly into their PayPal account by following a few simple steps. 

Can I get my stimulus money directly deposited onto a prepaid card?

Most likely yes. If you don’t have a traditional bank account, getting money on a prepaid account is a way to avoid waiting around for a check.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Monday that it is taking regulatory action to pave the way to make it easier for consumers to receive pandemic-relief payments, including the economic impact payments authorized in the CARES Act, through prepaid accounts. 

Will I get my stimulus check on my TurboTax debit card?

Taxpayers who use TurboTax and set up an authorized direct deposit when they file will also receive their stimulus payment in the direct deposit account where they received their tax refund, according to TurboTax.

“If you did not set up an authorized account for direct deposit, you will receive a paper check. Refund advances are available across most tax prep providers. For taxpayers that opted to receive a refund advance, the entire tax prep industry is awaiting guidance from the IRS on how they will move forward with the distribution of stimulus payments,” according to TurboTax last week. 

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How can I sign up for direct deposit?

Worried that you’ll have to wait months and months to receive a stimulus check because the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information? 

Later this week, you should be able to do something about it. The IRS has plans to announce more details about its “Get My Payment”  tool online.

By going to “Get My Payment” on IRS.gov, eligible people are able to give the IRS their direct deposit information for their bank accounts so they don’t need to guard their mailboxes waiting for checks in the months ahead. 

“This feature will be unavailable if the Economic Impact Payment has already been scheduled for delivery,” the IRS said in its statement on April 10. 

According to a Treasury Department news release Monday, the “Get My Payment” free app “allows taxpayers who filed their tax return in 2018 or 2019 but did not provide their banking information on their return to submit direct deposit information so they can receive payments immediately, as opposed to getting mailed checks which will start being distributed before the end of April.” 

How can I track my payment?

We’re expecting to get more word on that this week, too. The IRS “Get My Payment” tool also will enable you to check the status on your economic impact payments. “Get My Payment” will provide people with the status of their payment, including the date their payment is scheduled to be deposited into their bank account or mailed to them, according to the IRS. 

Contact Susan Tomporat 313-222-8876 or stompor@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @tompor

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