The IRS has begun direct depositing stimulus payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, people who owe child support may have questions about whether they will still get the checks. People who are owed child support may wonder if they can expect more money.
Some people say they’ve already received their stimulus check. Other people say the checks are listed as “pending” in their account or they haven’t gotten it yet (read about that here.)
If a person owes child support, what happens to their federal stimulus check? According to the Texas Attorney General, the federal stimulus rebate payments will be subject to the Federal Tax Refund Offset program — meaning those who owe child support may see their stimulus payments reduced or withheld.
“Federal law requires child support agencies to have procedures to collect past due child support from federal tax refunds. In the federal stimulus bill, the CARES Act, Congress did not exempt the stimulus rebate payments from federal offsets for child support arrears,” the AG wrote.
The AG continued: “Federal law and regulations determine when federal payments are intercepted and applied to child support arrears.” NBC News reported that 3 million Americans are behind on child support, so this could affect a lot of people.
“Past due child support will be penalized as long as the information is properly reported by states to the Treasury Department,” NBC News reported. “Once the payment is intercepted, the department is tasked with facilitating the transfer of the money to the entitled custodial parent.”
States provide information to the federal government about who’s behind in child support payments due to a federal program. Through the program, “State child support agencies submit (certify) … to the Department of Treasury, the names, Social Security numbers, and amounts of past-due support of people who are behind in their payments,” the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s website says.
Senator Chuck Grassley explained in a post on Medium.com: “The bill turns off nearly all administrative offsets that ordinarily may reduce tax refunds for individuals who have past tax debts, or who are behind on other payments to federal or state governments, including student loan payments. The only administrative offset that will be enforced applies to those who have past due child support payments that the states have reported to the Treasury Department.”
WINK News reported: “Your check will probably be reduced by the amount you owe in child support, which will be deducted by the Treasury Department.”
Will you have to pay taxes on the check? The answer to that question is no. According to Money.com, the stimulus check won’t reduce your 2020 tax refund. The stimulus check is in addition to whatever you would have gotten anyway. Furthermore, it’s not counted as income, so, according to Money.com, the stimulus check “won’t be taxable and it won’t affect your income tax bracket for 2020.”
Here’s a stimulus check calculator to help you figure out the amount of your check.
Here’s what you need to know:
What Are the Income Qualifications? When Will You Get the Check?
When will you get a check?
“We are ahead of schedule on delivering the economic impact payments… We started processing those last Friday. We expect that over 80 million hard-working Americans will get the direct deposit by this Wednesday,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on April 13.
On Wednesday, if you still didn’t get your payment, you can go to irs.gov, and click on “get your payment.” You then should be able to get the payment within a couple days. Social security recipients will get a direct deposit without doing anything. “We are very pleased that that is ahead of schedule,” said Mnuchin.
The IRS also tweeted on April 11, 2020, that it had started sending out stimulus payments already. “#IRS deposited the first Economic Impact Payments into taxpayers’ bank accounts today. We know many people are anxious to get their payments; we’ll continue issuing them as fast as we can,” the IRS wrote in a tweet.
The IRS website now advises that “most people won’t need to take any action” and that people should check the website for updates rather than calling.
Learn more about eligibility here.
“The IRS is committed to helping you get your Economic Impact Payment as soon as possible. The payments, also referred to by some as stimulus payments, are automatic for most taxpayers. No further action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees,” the IRS says.
However, CNN reported that the earlier payments will likely apply to people for whom the IRS already has direct deposit information on hand. It could take as long as 20 weeks for other people, according to CNN. CNN also reported that social security recipients who already get their social security benefits directly deposited to their bank accounts will get the stimulus payment the same way. Other people will be mailed a check.
Who is eligible for COVID-19 stimulus payments? The IRS explains:
Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return.
Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child.
Typically, the IRS uses your 2019 or 2018 tax form to decide whether you get the stimulus check (2018 if you haven’t filed 2019 yet).
On March 30, 2020, the IRS announced, “The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some taxpayers who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment.”
What if the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information? “In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail,” the IRS says.
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