If you’re among the 9 million Americans who have not yet claimed their federal stimulus checks from the CARES Act, you’ll have until October 15 to do so.
Those that typically don’t file federal tax returns should expect a letter from the Internal Revenue Service alerting you about the upcoming deadline.
The IRS announced on September 8 that a special letter will be going to an estimated 9 million non-filers to claim their stimulus payments by October 15.
There have been other claim deadlines given earlier this year, but it looks like this will be your last chance to receive a stimulus check before the end of the year. For those that don’t meet the deadline, they’ll still have a chance to claim it as credit on their 2020 tax return by filing in 2021.
This May Be the Only Stimulus Payment You’ll Get
If you are still due to receive a stimulus payment under the CARES Act, you should be aware it may be the only stimulus payment you’ll receive.
The most recent proposal by Senate Republicans has been a stripped-down economic assistance proposal that does not include another round of stimulus payments.
“With Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on a second round of stimulus, Senate Republicans introduced the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act,” reported Forbes Senior Contributor, Rob Berger, earlier this week. “As expected, the targeted stimulus package offers about $500 billion in Covid-19 relief. A vote on the bill is set for this Thursday…Significantly, the new bill does not include a second stimulus check.”
Indeed, not only does the recent Senate Republican proposal fall far short of the $3 trillion HEROES Act passed by the Democratic-controlled House back in May, but it’s also substantially less than the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act proposed by Senate Republicans back in July, as a counter proposal to the HEROES Act.
Interestingly, both the HEROES and HEALS Acts included provisions to virtually repeat the $1,200 per taxpayer stimulus payment, as well as the $500 additional payment for each dependent that was included under the CARES Act.
But at least if the current Senate Republican proposal is any indication, the CARES Act stimulus payments will be both the first and the last Americans will receive as a result of the economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
You Have Until October 15 to Claim Your Stimulus Check – Act Now!
Despite the popularity of the stimulus payments under the CARES Act, the IRS estimates approximately 9 million people have still not registered to receive their payments. This is largely because there was considerable confusion over who was eligible for the payments when the stimulus program was rolled out last spring.
There was a widespread belief at the time that only couples and individuals who had filed their tax returns in 2018 or 2019 were eligible. The subsequent clarification extended stimulus payments to millions who didn’t file a tax return, largely because they were not required to do so.
Included in that group are people whose incomes were below the filing threshold requirements, as well as many retirees who either didn’t file a return or had no tax liability.
“The IRS has made an unprecedented outreach effort to make sure people are aware of their potential eligibility for an Economic Impact Payment this year,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Millions who don’t normally file a tax return have already registered and received a payment. We are taking this extra step to help Americans who may not know they could be eligible for this payment or don’t know how to register for one. People who aren’t required to file a tax return can quickly register on IRS.gov and still get their money this year.”
Even so, the IRS claims more than 7 million non-filers have already registered for their payments. The effort now is to make a direct appeal to the remaining millions who have yet to file their claims.
Receipt of the IRS Notice is Not a Guarantee of Payment
And though the IRS is sending a letter to all non-filers it believes to be eligible for the payment, it does warn that receipt of the notification is not a guarantee of eligibility.
For example, according to IRS eligibility guidelines, you won’t be eligible if you can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, you do not have a Social Security number that’s valid for employment, you are a non-resident alien, you are incarcerated, or you filed Form 1040-NR (non-resident), 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR or Form 1040-SS for 2019.
Last Call for the First Stimulus Payment
If you receive the IRS notification, officially known as IRS Notice 1444-A (which will be written in both English and Spanish), it’s highly likely you’re eligible for the original stimulus payments.
Eligibility for the payment is largely based on your income level. If you are a single taxpayer, you can receive the full $1,200 if your modified adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less. The payment will be reduced by 5% of the amount that exceeds $75,000, completely disappearing at an income of $99,000.
For married couples, you’ll each be eligible for the full payment of $1,200 with a modified adjusted gross income of up to $150,000. Once again, the payment will be reduced by 5% of the amount that exceeds $150,000, completely disappearing at an income of $198,000.
In either case, you may also be eligible to receive up to $500 per dependent child under the age of 17 at the end of 2019.
That will entitle a married couple with two eligible dependents to receive a total of as much as $3,400.
Where to Register for Your Stimulus Payment
If you receive the IRS notification, or if you believe you are entitled to the stimulus payment and haven’t received it so far, you must register no later than October 15. You can do that by going to the IRS website and applying on the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool. It’s completely free to use, and available in both English and Spanish.
The best advice is to not wait until October 15 to file. You have at least a month available between now and then, so take advantage of it to avoid any site problems that may develop as a result of too much traffic to the IRS website as the filing deadline approaches. And of course, the sooner you register, the sooner you’ll receive your stimulus payment.
As well, the IRS notices are slated to go out on September 24. If you wait to receive the notice before registering, we may already be into October and the heavy traffic.
More than 160 million Americans have already received t. heir economic stimulus payments under the CARES Act. If you’re eligible, this will be your last opportunity to join them. Remember, you can qualify for the stimulus payments even if you don’t work and have no earned income.
One final piece of advice: to expedite receipt of the payment, you should set up direct deposit when you go to the Non-Filers page to register for the payment. You will receive your payment in as little as two weeks using the direct deposit option. If you don’t use direct deposit, a check will be issued that may take several weeks to arrive.
This is the final call for the stimulus payment, so act now or it may be gone forever.