WASHINGTON — If you’re looking to score a coronavirus stimulus check from the federal government, there are ways to make it happen faster.
Electronic payments are supposed to arrive for over 80 million Americans by Wednesday, April 15, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday evening. But that’s only for those lucky folks who’ve already provided direct deposit information to the IRS.
If that’s not you, there are still ways to get your payment of up to $1,200 per adult and up to $500 per child a lot faster than waiting weeks or months for a paper check via snail mail. The process essentially involves connecting with the IRS online and making sure they know how to find you.
The Treasury Department is scrambling to make sure Americans get those much-hyped stimulus payouts to lessen the blow of the economic catastrophe brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of people have lost their jobs or experienced cuts to their wages or hours, and are wondering how to cover their rent.
Here’s how you can make the system work faster.
The fastest way to get your money is to let the Treasury Department drop it right into your bank account. If you have filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019 and included direct deposit information, then you should already be in good shape.
The authorities already started sending out those payments last Friday.
Generally speaking, $1,200 payments will go out to individuals earning $75,000 or less. The more you earn, the less you’ll get, up until $99,000, after which you don’t get a stimulus payment.
A married couple filing together will get $2,400 if they earn up to $150,000, and someone filing as the head of household will get a $1,200 check if that person earned up to $112,500.
It’s worth noting that if you receive social security payments, you don’t need to do anything. You’re supposed to just get a direct deposit. And if you owe the government back taxes, you’ll still get your stimulus payment anyway.
If you didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return because you didn’t have to, good news: There’s a new website just for you.
The Treasury Department rolled out a new tool on Friday aimed specifically at folks who didn’t need to file taxes for the past two years. The portal is right here at this link.
The authorities had originally been unclear about how non-filers would get their stimulus payments. But this web site purports to make it look pretty easy — assuming it works.
And that might be a big assumption. The government has a history of rolling out web sites that fail to function as promised, from former President Obama’s healthcare enrollment site to President Trump’s empty promise in March of a web site to solve the country’s coronavirus testing problem.
You’ve filed — but you want to add direct deposit info
If you already filed your tax returns but didn’t give the government direct deposit information, there’s another route for you. You should soon be able to add that info through another app the government is still working on. But it’s not quite ready yet.
That app is called “Get My Payment,” and as of April 14 the web site says it’s “coming mid-April.” It’s supposed to work on phones, tablets and desktops.
When it arrives, you should be able to enter your bank info and then track the payment to know exactly what the status is. Again — assuming it works right.
If none of this is for you and you just want to wait for a check, it should still be coming, eventually — provided you don’t earn more than the limit and have filed taxes in 2018 or 2019.
But it could take months. The Treasury plans to start mailing out 5 million paper checks every week on April 24, beginning with the lowest earners first. That means if you’re in the top bracket earning close to $75,000 a year and are waiting for a paper check, you might get it as late as September.
Cover: Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, right, and his wife Louise Linton hold a 2017 50 subject uncut sheet of $1 dollar notes bearing Mnuchin’s name for a photograph at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)