By Matt Martinez
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit milwaukeenns.org.
Across the nation, people are receiving money from the Internal Revenue Service as a result of federal legislation passed last month.
The checks are known as Economic Impact Payments, or more colloquially, stimulus checks.
Here’s what you need to know about this economic lifeline:
How much are the checks worth?
People who qualify will receive up to $600. This means up to $1,200 per couple and $600 for each dependent.
Who qualifies for stimulus checks?
According to the Internal Revenue Service, most people qualify for a full stimulus check unless:
A potential recipient’s adjusted gross income for the year exceeds these totals:
• $150,000 if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower
• $112,500 if filing as head of household
• $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing status
You fall into the following groups:
• Someone claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s 2019 tax return. This would include college students and other dependents.
• People without a Social Security number that is valid for employment issued before the due date of your 2019 tax return
• “Nonresident aliens”
• People who died before 2020 (Those who died in 2020 might qualify for a payment if a spouse files a joint return.)
• An estate or trust
How is eligibility determined?
Christopher Miller, a, IRS spokesman based in Milwaukee, said the service uses information from 2019 tax returns to determine who receives stimulus checks and how much money a person receives.
The agency also uses tax returns to figure out the best way to provide the money. Miller said people can get the money through direct deposit, checks or debit cards.
What do I have to do to get a payment?
If everything goes according to plan, nothing. The IRS also is using 2019 tax returns to figure out the best way to disburse the money automatically. The money could already be in your account if you have direct deposit.
What should I do if I’m eligible and did not receive it?
Miller said anyone who was eligible for a stimulus check and did not receive it or received the wrong amount can file for the Recovery Rebate Credit on 2020 tax returns.
Taxpayers who use third-party tax filings, such as H & R Block and Turbo Tax, have reported having difficulty receiving their stimulus. Those payments can also be filed in the Recovery Rebate Credit.
Miller said anyone who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and files in 2020 can still file for the Recovery Rebate Credit if eligible. The Recovery Rebate Credit can also be used to request money from the first round of economic impact payments if filers did not receive them.
People can also use the IRS website and select “Get My Payment.”
When should I file my taxes for 2020?
Tax Day is April 15, but you can file taxes before then, including using e-file and paper file options.
To find out if you qualify for new tax credits in 2021, use the IRS’s Interactive Tax Assistant.