As part of the 2020 CARES Act Coronavirus relief program, the IRS sent stimulus checks (or “economic impact payments”) to many Americans. If you haven’t yet received your stimulus check, you are one of about 9 million people receiving letters from the IRS about how to claim it.
You might ask if the IRS could mail you a letter, couldn’t they simply mail you the check?
The letters are going to people that the IRS isn’t sure about when it comes to the size of the checks, or if you are qualified to receive stimulus cash.
Who qualifies for the stimulus?
The group being mailed letters are mostly people who haven’t filed a federal income tax return for either 2018 or 2019.
A single person can receive up to $1,200 in stimulus cash. Married couples can receive up to $2,400. People with qualifying children ages 16 or younger at the end of 2019 can get up to an extra $500 for each child.
You are likely eligible, even if you don’t work, according to the IRS, if you:
- Have a work-eligible Social Security number.
- Are a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s federal income tax return.
What do I need to do?
- The letter, known as a Notice 1444-A, gives a phone number of 800-919-9835 if you need assistance regarding Economic Impact Payments.
- If you receive a letter, enter personal information at the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info” tool on IRS.gov/eip before the Oct. 15 deadline.
- Provide bank account information to receive direct deposit; or you can wait for a check to be mailed.
If you were required to file a 2019 federal income tax return, the best and fastest way to claim your EIP is to electronically file your 2019 tax return immediately. If you already filed a 2019 tax return, you can check the status of your EIP by visiting IRS.gov/eip and clicking ‘Get My Payment.’
What happens if I miss the October 15 deadline?
You won’t lose out on the stimulus money, but you will have to wait until 2021. After Oct. 15, the only way to claim the stimulus money will be to file a federal income tax return.
“If you do not file a 2019 tax return in 2020, you may instead be able to claim a recovery rebate credit when you file your 2020 federal income tax return in 2021,” the IRS said.
If you don’t typically file tax returns, you will still need to take some action to receive the stimulus payments. Making that Oct. 15 deadline is the fastest way possible.