by Jennifer Meyer
Traditionally, today is the day Americans are filing and paying the taxes they owe to the government. However, as we know, this year of 2020 is entirely different. Instead of collecting taxpayers’ money today, the IRS has launched an internet-based platform that Americans can use to track the payments the government has promised to deliver to them as part of the fiscal stimulus package passed on March 26, 2020. The package was passed to offset what is looking to be a devastating blow to the US economy and American workers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past few weeks, the government has worked furiously preparing to send out payments to Americans who are eligible. Eligibility requirements are based on either 2018 or 2019 filing status and Adjusted Gross Income (click here for further detail on eligibility). If you are eligible to receive a payment- the IRS began direct depositing funds to taxpayers’ bank accounts last week.
One important (and to the good of those who are impacted) change that was made from the initial implementation plan is that social security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return now do not need to take any action in order to receive their payments. Previously, the IRS had indicated those recipients would need to file a simple return to receive their payment.
Now, the IRS has stated they will use the information on Form SSA-1099 to issue payments to beneficiaries either by direct deposit or by paper check.
As one would imagine, the IRS has been flooded with calls from the public eager to determine when they can expect to receive these lump-sum payments. Today’s launch of the “Get My Payment” function on the IRS website (irs.gov) should alleviate some of the phone overload. It seemed natural to do a trial run of the tool to see how effective it could be. When I went to the site (irs.gov) the “Get My Payment” button was easily found on the home page. There was a note that you may need your 2018 or 2019 tax return to use the tool so I would suggest having that handy. The wait time once I clicked the button was long- but not as long as I initially feared. I estimate I was prompted for the next step after 15 minutes or so. Once I was “let in” I only had to enter basic info to move through the landing page- nothing from my tax returns was required. However, the ultimate reply was that the IRS could not determine my eligibility at this time. I am sure there could be multiple reasons for that. Perhaps they just have not got to me yet, or perhaps there is another reason that will come to light in the coming weeks.
So, I now know to not look at my bank account each day in the near term for the payment. There is value in that knowledge for certain. Any others out there who have given it a try? Would love to get any feedback.
**Written by Jennifer Meyer, Financial Planner.
The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Jennifer Meyer and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy suggested. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon before making any investment or financial decision. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.**
fiscal stimulus package