Americans have received conflicting information on when they will receive stimulus checks due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. But there’s good news: Checks will be hitting their bank accounts soon.
Automatic payments are set to begin next week. Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 and chose direct deposit for their refund will automatically receive a stimulus payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and $500 for each qualifying child, the IRS said Friday.
Individuals who receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits, or who receive Railroad Retirement benefits but didn’t file a return for 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive a payment in the “near future,” the agency said.
The government is prioritizing the first few waves of payments in the coming weeks toward low-income Americans and Social Security beneficiaries, according to Lisa Greene-Lewis, a certified public accountant at TurboTax.
“Direct deposit is the quickest way that people will receive their money,” Greene-Lewis says. “Then the IRS will work on issuing the paper checks.”
Some Americans were confused following conflicting reports from different corners of the government in recent weeks. The IRS said at the end of March stimulus payments would start being distributed within three weeks.
Shortly afterward, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on April 2 the first stimulus payments would arrive in some taxpayers’ accounts via direct deposit within two weeks. Then Larry Kudlow, senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump, said this week that checks could go out this week or next. Others have said they could have come as early as April 9.
About 80% of Americans are eligible to receive a stimulus payment, according to the IRS. Cash will be distributed by the agency, so Americans who have received prior tax refunds via direct deposit will get rebate checks faster than those waiting on paper checks. The IRS is expected to start sending paper checks on April 24.
Most U.S. adults with a Social Security number will receive a payment, as long as they aren’t claimed as dependents by someone else. If you don’t have direct deposit, a check will be mailed to the address on file.
If your address has changed, you can notify the IRS by mailing a 8822 change of address form or call the IRS to report your new address. It may take time to process change of address forms in the next few weeks, so experts suggest calling.
Can I enter my direct deposit info online?
The IRS is building a tool called “Get My Payment,” expected to be available by April 17. You can enter your bank account information for direct deposit if the IRS doesn’t have your information.
If you don’t typically file tax returns and haven’t set up direct deposit with the IRS, you can register through an online portal the agency rolled out Friday. The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched a new web tool that will allow Americans who don’t normally file a tax return to register for stimulus payments.
For those who don’t normally file a tax return, visit IRS.gov and look for “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” Then provide information including your Social Security number, name, address and dependents.