Terry’s Columns Stimulus Checks-Top 10 Q & A

Stimulus Checks-Top 10 Q & A

By Terry Savage on April 01, 2020

The questions keep coming –and they are very similar. Since I can’t answer each of you personally, here are my answers to the Top 10 Most Common questions about Stimulus Checks. Odds are, you will find your answer below. If not, please post on Ask Terry, and I will try to get to your question.

1. When will I get my check? Answer – no one knows. They say they are starting within 3 weeks, but still working on systems.

2. HOW will I get my check? Answer: If you filed online and specified direct deposit of your refund, that’s how you’ll receive your check. Otherwise it will come by mail. But the government may create a portal to update your information in the weeks ahead.

3. Do I have to pay taxes on this money or repay it next year? Answer: This money is tax-free and does not have to be repaid. It does not count against you in formulas for government aid or other benefits.

4. What if I owe back taxes – will I get the full amount? Answer: You will receive a full check even if you owe back taxes. Only those delinquent in paying child support will see a reduction in their check.

5. I have a college age child who I declare as a dependent on my tax return. Will I get $500 because of that? Answer: Children under 17 who are a dependent on your return are each “worth” $500 to you. But if you have dependents older than 17, you do not get a check for them. Note: you may also have aging parents declared as dependents and you won’t get a check for them either.

6. If my college age son is a dependent on my tax return and I don’t get a check, will he get one? Answer: If you are listed as a dependent on anyone’s return, you will NOT get a stimulus check – even if you filed your own return from part time work.

7. What if I’m married but filing separately? Answer: If you are married but filing separately, you should each get a $1200 check – if each filer falls below the $75,000 AGI level. Note: Decide which party claims the children as dependents.

8. What if I don’t file a tax form because I don’t have enough income to do that? Answer: Seniors who receive Social Security, or those who receive Social Security Disability payments will be easily “found” by the system and will receive their stimulus checks based on information from your 2019 SSA-1099, receiving the stimulus payment in the same way you receive monthly benefits checks. That also applies to those receiving SNAP payments or other federal payments.

9. I just lost my job last month – and made too much in 2018 and 2019 to qualify. But I need a check! Do I get one?
Answer:If you just lost your job this past month, you are in a tough spot – and likely are among those who need this check the most. But if your 2018 or 2019 income was too high for you to qualify, you would not get a stimulus check automatically deposited in the next couple of weeks. You may see the $1200 in the form of a tax credit when you file your 2020 taxes in 2021, since the credit is technically for 2020. But that’s small comfort.

10. I don’t get any government benefits or file a tax return. How will they find me?? Answer: A surprising number of people are asking how the government would find them if they are low income and do not file tax returns, do not get SS checks, or disability checks, aid for dependent children, or other government benefits.
Note: The IRS is planning to create a portal where you can create a special, simple 2019 tax form (even with no income reported) to enter information about your filing status, number of dependents, and direct deposit bank account information, if you have a bank account, or mailing address. Look for updates on this form at www.IRS.gov/coronavirus.

Well, hope that answers most of your questions. Please keep coming back to my website for more updates.



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