The IRS announced Monday that most qualifying taxpayers will receive recovery rebate payments enacted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, P.L. 116-136, automatically within the next three weeks without having to take any action (IR-2020-61). According to the IRS, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a tax return to receive the stimulus payment, which the Service is calling an “economic impact payment.”
The IRS explained that eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.
Under the CARES Act, individuals with adjusted gross income up to $150,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $112,500 for taxpayers who file as head of household, and $75,000 for other individuals will receive the full payment. For taxpayers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the applicable thresholds. Thus, the payment phases out for single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and for joint filers with income exceeding $198,000 (with no children).
The IRS says most people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate their payment amount and automatically send it to them.
For taxpayers who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their 2019 return, the IRS will use information from their 2018 return to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same bank account used on the return. For taxpayers for whom the IRS does not have direct deposit information, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal so that individuals can provide their bank information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive electronic payments. Otherwise, those individuals will receive checks in the mail.
The IRS says that individuals who typically do not file a tax return will have to file a tax return to receive a payment, even though they are not otherwise required to file a tax return.
The IRS will soon provide on IRS.gov/coronavirus information instructing people in these groups on how to file a 2019 tax return with the necessary information to receive a payment, including their filing status, number of dependents, and direct deposit bank account information.
Other taxpayers, who have not yet filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return but are required to, must file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 that includes their direct deposit bank information to receive an economic impact payment.
The economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.
The IRS has said it will post all key information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as it becomes available.
Because of the pandemic, the IRS has reduced staff in many of its offices but wants to help eligible individuals receive their payments expeditiously. The IRS says taxpayers should check for updated information on IRS.gov/coronavirus rather than calling IRS employees who are processing 2019 returns.
For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the outbreak, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page.
— Sally P. Schreiber, J.D., (Sally.Schreiber@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.