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IRS mails first $1,200 coronavirus stimulus checks: Find out your payment schedule

330-922-1524 Sonya Olmstead (2020-05-09)


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As part of the 2020 stimulus package, you may be eligible for a payment from the federal government.

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If you're waiting for your stimulus payment, the IRS has already sent the first wave of checks to tens of millions of US residents who meet the eligibility requirements for a coronavirus economic impact payment. And the federal agency expects to mail up to 5 million paper checks a week to those who have not set up direct deposit. Some CNET readers tell us the IRS has notified them they'll receive their payments today, Friday, May 1.

If you haven't set up direct deposit with the IRS yet but meet the qualifications for an impact check, you still have time to receive your payment in your bank account, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said. But some who expect a payment and meet the qualifications need to act quickly: The IRS said Supplemental Security Income and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries with dependents need to update the agency by early next week to receive their full payment this year.

We'll break down what you need to know if you haven't received your 2020 economic impact payment yet: How to find out if you're eligible and how much money you could get. How to update the IRS on with your banking information. What to do if you're usually exempt from filing taxes or receive federal benefits. How to track your 2020 stimulus check if you don't see the total post in your bank account -- although some are experiencing problems with the Get My Payment tool. And which date you can expect your check.





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Plus, here's more personal finance information on how you should spend the stimulus money, how to avoid COVID-19 scams, how coronavirus affects your rent payment and how else you can get financial relief during the coronavirus outbreak.








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When will the checks will go out?
More than 88 million US residents who set up direct deposit with the IRS began receiving their stimulus money in the middle of April. And the IRS began issuing paper checks last week, according to the US House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means.

According to the committee, the IRS intends to send out payments -- both direct deposit and through the mail -- on a weekly schedule until everyone eligible receives their rebate payment. To meet that goal, the IRS expects to send 5 million paper checks per week, issued in reverse "adjusted gross income" order, sending out payment for the lowest incomes first, the committee said. The IRS estimates it could take up to 20 weeks for everyone eligible for a check to receive one in the mail.

You can get an idea of where your check falls on the spectrum by doing a quick calculation -- see below for more information.

Those who set up direct deposit will receive their payments much quicker: The committee said those who enter their direct deposit information into the Get My Payment portal by the Thursday of a given week may get their payment as soon as the following week. We've asked the IRS for clarification.

Here's what we know about tracking your stimulus payment. If you moved since the last time you filed your taxes, here's where you can update your address with the IRS.


Is the money yours, free and clear?
Yes. You don't have to pay taxes on any stimulus payment you receive from the IRS. It's also not an advance on your usual tax refund. If you get a check now, your 2019 tax refund won't be smaller as a result. You can spend the total of your stimulus money just like cash.





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Your government money is on its way.

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How much stimulus money you get depends on your taxes
The total amount of your stimulus check will be based on your adjusted gross income, or AGI, from your 2019 federal tax filing or -- if you haven't filed this year -- your 2018 filing.

If you've filed your 2019 federal tax return, you can find that figure on line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax form. It's line 7 on the 2018 1040 tax form. If you haven't filed this year, don't worry. The US government has delayed the due date for 2019 taxes to July 15 as a result of coronavirus.


Here's who is eligible for a stimulus payment
The amount you'll receive will depend on your total income in 2019 or 2018. If you qualify, you'll receive one payment. Here's who qualifies:



If you're a single US resident and have an adjusted gross income less than $99,000

If you file as the head of a household and earn under $146,500

If you file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000

Read on for how your payment is calculated and how much you can expect. You can also look at this calculator from the Washington Post.



Every little bit helps.

Angela Lang/CNET


How much you'll get as a single taxpayer

A single US resident must have a Social Security number and an AGI under $75,000 to receive the full amount of $1,200. The sum decreases as your AGI goes up. If your adjusted gross income reaches $99,000, you won't be eligible for the stimulus. 


Heads of household
If you file as head of a household, you will get the full $1,200 payment if your AGI is $112,500 or less, with the amount decreasing until you reach $146,500.


Couples filing jointly
Married couples filing jointly without children with an adjusted gross income below $150,000 will get a $2,400 payment, decreasing to zero at $198,000.


For children

For each child aged 16 or younger in the family, parents will get a payment of $500. Parents will not receive a payment for children born, adopted or placed into foster care in 2020 because the payment is based only on information from your 2019 or 2018 tax return. The IRS said you may claim the child next year for an additional credit on your 2020 tax return. Older children and other dependents may not be eligible for a payment.

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