Subscribe to Outbreak, a daily roundup of stories on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global business, delivered free to your inbox.At long last, the checks are in the mail. Or they will be soon, at least.According to the federal government, many Americans could start seeing their coronavirus stimulus checks—part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act signed by President Trump last month—arriving imminently. The direct payments are meant to provide Americans with financial aid during what’s been an abrupt, yet severe, economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic.Millions of taxpayers could receive their payments as soon as mid-April, according to government officials. Here’s how to make sure you receive yours as quickly as possible.
How will I receive my stimulus check?
First in line will be Americans who have their direct deposit bank account information on file with the Internal Revenue Service. These individuals don’t have to take any additional action; the money will be automatically deposited into their accounts.If you haven’t yet filed income taxes for 2019, no worries—the government will simply use information from your 2018 filing to calculate how much money you’re eligible to receive. (In such cases, the IRS will revise your payment in the future should a reduction in one’s 2019 income call for a larger payment).
What if I didn’t provide my direct deposit information to the IRS?
The Treasury Department intends to develop and launch an online portal “in the coming weeks” that would allow individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS, so that they can receive payments as soon as possible.Otherwise, without having your direct deposit information on file, it could take months before some taxpayers receive their stimulus checks in the mail.
What if I do not typically file a federal income tax return?
For Social Security beneficiaries and retirees—many of whom have little-to-no income and aren’t required to file taxes—the IRS will pull those individuals’ tax information from the Social Security Administration to ensure they receive the requisite payment. In addition, some companies like the maker of TurboTax are developing a way for people who do not file taxes to get access to their stimulus payments.
What if I owe outstanding income taxes or have yet to file my 2018 income tax return?
You’re still eligible for a stimulus check from the government. The IRS urges anyone with tax filing obligations to file as soon as possible in order to receive the payment they’re entitled to.
How do I know the government has sent me my stimulus check?
Keep an eye on the mail. The IRS plans to send a letter about your direct payment to your last known address within 15 days of the payment being made. The letter will provide information on the payment, and will specify how to report any failure in receiving the payment.
More must-read personal finance coverage from Fortune:
—What to do if you can’t pay your bills this month—Everything you need to know about the coronavirus stimulus checks—Everything you need to know about mortgage forbearance and skipping payments—Everything you need to know about furloughs—and what they mean for workers—Everything you need to know about the new 401(k) no-penalty withdrawals—Listen to Leadership Next, a Fortune podcast examining the evolving role of CEO—VIDEO: 401(k) withdrawal penalties waived for anyone hurt by COVID-19
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