Personal Finance

I didn’t receive a $1,200 stimulus check earlier in 2020. Will I get a $600 stimulus check this time around?

Dear Moneyist,

I was married and didn’t qualify for the $1,200 stimulus check based on my 2018 tax returns.

I am now divorced and filed my 2019 tax returns separately. I filed about 10 days after the traditional filing date, so I missed out on the first round.

With a second round of stimulus checks of $600 announced by Congress on Sunday, will the Internal Revenue Service give me a check based on my 2019 return?

Waiting for check(s)

The Moneyist: My father left his estate to me and nothing to my 3 wealthier brothers. They now want their share. Should I do as they say?

Dear Waiting,

Your economic impact payment is effectively an advance on a 2020 tax credit, so you should receive a stimulus payment of up to $1,200 and $600, but they likely won’t arrive until next year, unfortunately.

Last March, the IRS will send $1,200 payments to individuals with adjusted gross annual income below $75,000, and $2,400 to married couples filing taxes jointly who earn under $150,000. This time around, you can only expect $600 check if you make $75,000 or less.

‘Eligible taxpayers who received a smaller-than-expected economic impact payment may qualify to receive an additional amount early next year.’

— Internal Revenue Service guidance

“In many instances, eligible taxpayers who received a smaller-than-expected economic impact payment may qualify to receive an additional amount early next year when they file their 2020 federal income tax return,” the IRS said.

“EIPs are technically an advance payment of a new temporary tax credit that eligible taxpayers can claim on their 2020 return. Everyone should keep for their records the letter they receive by mail within a few weeks after their payment is issued,” it added.

If the IRS doesn’t have a taxpayer’s direct-deposit information on file, the agency will mail checks. You can submit your bank-account and address information through the IRS tracking tool, “Get My Payment.” It should also tell you if the IRS needs more bank-account information.

The Moneyist:‘It was hell!’ I stayed in an Airbnb on my parents’ street for Thanksgiving. My mom pleaded with me NOT to write a bad review. What do I do?

I received hundreds of emails every week from people who had not received their stimulus check in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some were listed as dependents on their parents’ tax returns, which rules them out of receiving a payment this year; others do qualify yet wondered why they have not received a payment.

If the IRS does not have your bank-account information on file, it will likely take longer. Approximately 14 million Americans don’t have bank accounts or 6.5% of U.S. households. Immigration status also plays a role. The government is paying American citizens, and some non–U.S. citizens, including “legal permanent residents” or green-card holders, according to the IRS.

Marriage to a green-card holder does not necessarily mean a second stimulus check, lawyers say. Others have had their stimulus checks garnished due to unpaid child-support payments. If you are behind on student loans, however, that will not impact your payment.

I understand that you are anxious, and I hope that you manage to hold out until next year for your check. 2020 has been a year few people will ever forget, but it’s been a time when millions of Americans are facing the most difficult circumstances together.

The Moneyist:‘I lost my mom 2 months ago and I’m still in a fog’: My brother and his family moved into her home. They want more than half

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at [email protected]. Want to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here

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