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Federal stimulus checks for individuals--an update

Federal stimulus checks for individuals--an update

The Internal Revenue Service has been rolling out the federal economic impact payments (aka stimulus checks) since mid-April. Here is an update on the information you need to know.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will receive up to $1,200 for individuals ($2,400 for couples) and up to $500 for each qualifying child. The payments are reduced for individuals earning over $75,000 a year ($150,000 for married couples filing jointly), and no payments are made to individuals earning over $99,000 a year ($198,000 for couples).

In most cases, the IRS will deposit the payments into the direct deposit account taxpayers previously provided on tax returns.

Taxpayers who have previously filed but did not provide direct deposit information to the IRS can provide their banking information online through a secure portal on the IRS website. If the IRS does not have a taxpayer's direct deposit information, a check will be mailed to the address on file.

Taxpayers should not provide their direct deposit or other banking information for others to input on their behalf into the IRS secure portal. Also, DO NOT click on any links purporting to be from the IRS. You should go to the IRS website on your own to access their secure portal.

Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file to receive a payment. Instead, payments will be made the same way recipients currently receive their regular payment, whether by check or automatically deposited into their bank accounts.

The IRS is not taking calls at this time regarding these payments, and instead instructs citizens to continue checking www.irs.gov/coronavirus. Some people who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment. Go to the IRS website for details.

Beware of scams

  • Don’t be a victim of fraud. No one from the IRS will be reaching out by phone, email, mail or in person asking for any kind of information to complete their economic impact payment, also sometimes referred to as rebates or stimulus payments.
  • Do not give out your bank account, debit account or PayPal account information, even if the caller claims it is necessary to get your check or that by doing so you can receive your payment faster.
  • Do not click on links in texts or emails relating to economic impact payments, as this could allow scammers to place tracking devices on your electronic devices and gain access to your personal information for later use.
  • Do not engage with scammers or thieves, simply hang up or delete texts/emails.

It will take a few weeks before the Treasury sends the economic impact payments. If you receive a “check” for an odd amount, for instance $1,322.48, or a check that requires you to verify the check online or by calling a number, it is a fraud.

Examples of other current online frauds:

  • Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online.
  • Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Malicious websites and apps that appear to share Coronavirus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received.
  • Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations.