Millions of New Yorkers will receive checks from the federal government — a key provision in the $2 trillion stimulus bill that Congress is finalizing to address the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. economy.
There are many questions about the checks. Who is eligible? What are the income thresholds? Will you get checks for children in the home? When will the checks arrive?
The Citizen seeks to answer those questions — and more.
Who will get a check?
Single filers with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 a year will be eligible for a $1,200 check. Individuals filing as a head of household would get $1,200 if they earn up to $112,500 a year. Couples earning up to $150,000 a year will eligible for a $2,400 check.
Smaller checks will be distributed to individuals earning between $75,000 and $99,000, heads of household earning between $112,500 and $136,500 and couples whose income is between $150,000 and $198,000.
Parents will get $500 payments for children ages 16 and under. For example, a married couple with two children could get up to $3,400 — a $2,400 rebate and $1,000 for the children.
How will the check amount be determined?
If you have filed your 2019 tax return, that's what will determine how much you get. If you haven't filed your 2019 tax return yet, then your 2018 return will be used to determine the amount of your check.
When will I receive the check?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that they want the checks to be distributed in April. It will depend on how quickly Congress can pass the bill and when President Donald Trump signs it into law. When the federal government has sent stimulus payments to Americans in the past, it took weeks to complete the process.
How will I get the check?
It will depend on how you receive your income tax returns. If you receive the return in the form of a direct deposit, then that's how you'll receive your stimulus check. For those who haven't set up direct deposit, paper checks will be mailed to you.
I'm on Social Security. Will I get check?
Retirees and Social Security beneficiaries will receive checks. The same rules apply: Their incomes can't exceed the threshold.
Who is ineligible?
"Non resident aliens" — people who don't have green cards — won't receive checks. Dependents aren't eligible to receive checks.
Will it be taxed?
No. But there may be a scenario that would require a taxpayer to return some of the money when they file their returns next year.
An example: You're an individual filer with an income of $74,000 in 2019. You are eligible to receive a $1,200 check from the Internal Revenue Service. In 2020, your income increases to $78,000. You will be required to pay some of the money back when you file your return in 2021.
That's because the checks are technically based on what you will earn in 2020. Since that figure is unknown, the IRS will use past tax returns to determine eligibility.
What if I made too much in 2019, but lose income this year?
A possible scenario: You're a single filer who made $105,000 in 2019. Based on that income, you're not eligible for a check right away. But if, for example, your income declines to $74,000 this year, you would get the rebate when you file your return next year.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll answer them in this story.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.
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