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COVID-19 Stimulus Package Payments To Individuals


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Congress has passed unprecedented legislation to address the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout stemming from it. Richard Winchester, a visiting professor of law at Seton Hall University School of Law and a national authority on small business and federal employment tax policy, shared answers to key questions about those payments.

Who will get a check and who won’t?

Anyone who files a tax return will get a check. Checks will also go to non-filers who receive social security retirement or disability benefits. Unfortunately, many people neither receive these benefits nor file a tax return because their incomes are too low. This raises the prospect that some individuals who are most in need will not get a check. Nonresident aliens are also ineligible for the program.

How much money can anyone expect to receive?

Individuals will receive $1,200 if their adjusted gross income is under $75,000, while married couples who file a joint return will get $2,400 if their adjusted gross income is less than $150,000. Single parents will get the $1,200 maximum if their adjusted gross income is under $112,500. The size of the check is reduced above those income thresholds until they are phased out completely for individuals whose incomes exceed $99,000 and couples whose incomes exceed $198,000.

Recipients will receive an additional $500 for each child they claim as a dependent on their tax return, as long as that child meets a number of additional conditions. Among other things, the child must be younger than 17 years old.

Adults who can be claimed as a dependent by someone else won’t receive anything. In many cases dependents are elderly adults who are claimed as a dependent by their adult children.

What does someone have to do to get their check?

In most cases, nothing. The IRS will make the payments directly to eligible recipients based on information already on file. Anyone who authorized the IRS to direct deposit their tax refund will receive this payment by direct deposit too.

However, the IRS will use information on a person’s tax return to determine whether someone is entitled to a check and the amount they should receive. If you filed a tax return for 2019, the agency will use that return. If not, the agency will use your 2018 return. However, anyone who has not filed either return should file a return for 2019 as soon as possible, even if they owe no taxes. That will prevent them from being overlooked for these payments.

Do you need to be unemployed to get the checks?

No. You do not need to be unemployed to receive a check. This check goes to nearly every American who falls below the income limits. The legislation includes a separate provision to address unemployed individuals.

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  1. I was wondering the same, as I have a 17 year old daughter in high school, and the answer is no we will not receive the stimulus check for our children which is wrong as they are still a dependent in the home.

  2. The same for me ,my son is 17 and a full time high school student. He turned 17 in November 2019 will i get any stimulus for him?

  3. I am 17 yrs and I have work and file tax return but my parent claim me will I receive the check

  4. I think everyone should get a check. I know I’m not getting one because I didn’t file taxes plus I wouldn’t get one because of back child support. I’m looking for work but with this Covid-19 thing, it’s making it hard to get a job. That’s why I think everyone should get a check

  5. Unfortunately, the government will not send checks to anyone who is listed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. In addition, taxpayers with dependents will receive an extra $500 for a dependent only when that person is, among other things, younger than age 17 on December 31, 2020. These adult dependents fall into a gap in the law.

  6. If someone claims a child on their tax return and is not entitled to claiming that child do they get the 500?

  7. If you claim a child every other year and did not claim them this year; and. The other parent did not file this year but filed last year and did not claim them, do they get overlooked on the stimulus?

  8. Hello Mallory,

    If the IRS did not raise questions about a dependent who appeared on someone’s tax return when it was filed, it seems unlikely that the agency would raise a question about it now. Hope this helps.

    Richard Winchester

  9. My son is 19 and I claimed him on my taxes, due to he was still in school. He also worked and filed his own taxes, will he be eligible for a Stimulus Check?

  10. OK so let me get this straight. All adults 18+ will receive a check, as well as 16 and below. So that leaves ONLY 17 year olds? What the heck?? I have a 17 year old as well and i claim him on my tax return. He is a full time student and should be given the $500. Since when do they cut off everything at 17? It used to be 18, which made sense because they are considered adults then. Can someone explain this please, I’m not happy?

  11. Hello, I’m 27 years old, recently laid off from work, but I filed taxes for both 2018 and 2019, unknown to me last year my father claimed me as a dependent in his taxes, but other than living in a house leased under his name, I am responsible for my own utilities, food, and insurance. Based on the information provided, I am ineligible for a stimulus check, even though I cannot depend on my father, who refuses to understand that I wont be getting anything, could you provide the exact wording from the bill that excludes adult dependents with citations?

  12. I’m wondering if my son who is 26 will get a check. He filed his own tax return for 2018 as single. He moved back home at the beginning of 2019 and was out of work, so I claimed him as a dependent for 2019. Thoughts?

  13. My mother receives Social Security and lives with me. I claimed her as a dependent this year as I provide the vast majority of her support. Because I claimed her will she not receive a stimulus check, and if not, should I amend my return and remove her from my return?

  14. OK, Here is how this stands. If one has been filed as dependent and is over 17 years old, will NOT receive anything, does not matter 17, or 71 or 91.
    If they filed their taxes on their own and hence were not a dependent will receive $1,200.
    Those dependents under 17 will receive $500 each, This too has its own limit. Dont expect to receive 5,000 if you have 10 kids under 17, LOL.

    There is no other Category. This is an unfortunate tax law gap, that many people fall under.

    If you are claiming adult kids or parents, or whoever over the age of 17, you are out of luck in this case.

  15. If I claimed my step-son on my 2019 taxes but his mother claimed him in 2018 and hasn’t filed any taxes since who gets the 500?

  16. But what if my child is specifically 17 years old, since November 2019, does not work and has not filed any taxes ever, and is a high school student? Will they be receiving the extra $500?

  17. If my 16 year old son, now 17 year old, worked and filed income taxes, will he be eligible for the $1200 stimulus check due to him working?

  18. What if I had a baby in 2019 and we haven’t filed taxes yet so he hasn’t been claimed on our taxes yet so will we still get $500 for him?

  19. I am 17 years old and I am NOT a dependent of anyone and no one can claim me, because I made 13,000 when I filed my taxes, do I get the stimulus check?

  20. My daughter turned 17 Nov 23, 2019. I was able to claim her. She is 17 so I guess I won’t get it?

  21. The IRS will use the information that appears on a person’s 2019 tax return to determine the amount they will receive. So if anyone is listed as a dependent on that return, that individual will not receive a check. In addition, the person filing the return will only get an additional $500 for a dependent who also meets a number of conditions. One requirement is that the dependent must be under age 17 on December 31, 2019. So if you had a child before the end of 2019, you satisfy that requirement.

    However, keep in mind that the $500 will only be added when the dependent meets all of the tests for being a qualified child under the child tax credit program. It’s an intricate set of rules. But the IRS has a tool to help you here: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/does-my-childdependent-qualify-for-the-child-tax-credit-or-the-credit-for-other-dependents

    Richard Winchester

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