Have you checked your bank account? It might have some added money in it.
The Internal Revenue Service announced via social media on Saturday that it had delivered the first batch of coronavirus economic impact statements.
#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers’ bank accounts today. We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can. For #COVIDreliefIRS updates see: https://t.co/hEEWmgHA9V pic.twitter.com/2bSHOTjMAS— IRS (@IRSnews) April 11, 2020
The turnaround is pretty darn impressive. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that created the (so far) one-time payments to help people weather the difficulties caused by the pandemic and lock downs to control its spread became law just two weeks ago.
When Washington, D.C., made similar payments at the start of the Great Recession in 2008, it took about 2½ months for the check deliveries to start.
Remember, though, that even if your bank says it's received the coronavirus check information from the IRS and Treasury, it likely will be a few days before you can actually access the money. Still, it's a start, and one that's a bit earlier than anyone expected.
Still by getting the payment process underway, April 11 earns this week's By the Numbers honor.
First COVID-19 relief recipients: So who were the lucky folks who've already received the COVID-19 payments, which could be as much as $1,200 for single taxpayers or $2,400 for married couples filing jointly?
They are folks for whom the IRS has direct deposit information based on the tax returns they filed in either 2018 or 2019.
This earliest round of relief checks, according to a COVID-19 checks timetable guide House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) released on April 2, also will include Social Security beneficiaries who filed federal tax returns that included direct deposit information.
The second batch of payments are scheduled to be to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019 and receive their government retirement benefits via direct deposit.
Next in line will be folks who didn't provide the IRS with financial account info, meaning that their COVID-19 money will be issued as paper checks that will be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service.
In the paper check cases, Neal's delivery guideline says that the IRS will issue them in reverse adjusted gross income (AGI) order, starting with people with the lowest income first.
Getting in relief payment line: If you didn't file a return in 2018 or 2019 because you weren't required by tax law to do so, you need to file now, as soon as possible, to get on the COVID-19 payment delivery list.
Treasury and the IRS on Friday, April 10, launched on online portal that allows such individuals to file a simplified 2019 tax return electronically. If you have a bank account, be sure to enter that account and routing info on your special COVID-19 filing so that you'll get the money sooner.
My post on this special COVID-19 e-filing option has more details, as well as a look at the special form.
Checking on relief delivery: As for folks who have filed tax returns, but didn't provide the IRS with bank data, you'll get a chance to possibly move up in the delivery line when the agency opens its Get My Payment portal.
This second COVID-19 online payment option, expected to be operational by April 17, will help everyone check on the status of their payments. Treasury says it will be an online app that will display on any desktop, phone or tablet, meaning you won't have to download anything from an app store.
To track your payment's status, you'll need to enter your Social Security number, date of birth and your mailing address.
Adding bank information: Get My Payment also will give COVID-19 payment-eligible individuals the opportunity to provide their bank account information so they can receive their payment more quickly as a direct deposit rather than waiting for a paper check.
In addition to the basic identifying information needed to track your payment, if you want to add direct deposit delivery data you also will be asked to provide the following additional information:
- The AGI amount from your most recent (specifically, your 2018 or 2019) tax return,
- The tax refund or amount of tax owed from their latest filed tax return, and, of course,
- Your bank account type (checking or savings) and the account and routing numbers.
If you want to get your COVID-19 check by direct deposit, then get that info together now so that as soon as Get My Payment opens, you can enter it.
Direct deposit change limits: While the option to add direct deposit information for the COVID-19 payments is welcome, Treasury notes that Get My Payment will not allow you to change any bank account information that you previous gave the IRS in connection with a refund.
This no-account-alteration limitation is to protect against potential fraud.
Also, the Get My Payment tool won't let you enter bank information if your COVID payment has already has been scheduled for delivery via snail mail. But if you act quickly, you just might be able to cut in the COVID-19 payment line.
And even if you do find yourself stuck waiting for your mail carrier to bring your check, there's at least some comfort in knowing the first of the coronavirus payments have gone out to others. Now we just have to be patient.
|Coronavirus Caveat & More Information
In 2020, we're all dealing with extraordinary circumstances,
both in our daily lives and when it comes to our taxes.
The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce its transmission
and protect ourselves and our families means that,
for the most part, we're focusing on just getting through these trying days.
But life as we knew it before the coronavirus will return,
along with our mundane tax matters.
Here's hoping that happens soon!
In the meantime, you can find more on the virus and its effects on our taxes
by clicking Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Taxes.