Commentary

IRS PSA: Social Security Recipients Not Required To File Tax Return for Stimulus Payments

Despite initial reports otherwise, Social Security recipients who do not file tax returns will be able to receive coronavirus relief payments without having to file additional tax information.

When the federal government recently authorized stimulus payments through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, some confusion followed. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) initially said it would determine eligibility and distribute payments based on previous years’ tax returns.

But how would payments reach those Americans who do not file tax returns? At least for Social Security recipients, that question now has a clear answer.

Although originally nonfilers were encouraged to submit simple tax returns so that the IRS could determine their eligibility and send stimulus payments, Secretary Treasury Steven Mnuchin quickly reversed course, announcing that Social Security recipients would receive stimulus checks or direct deposits without having to file additional tax information.

The IRS continues to encourage other nonfilers, who often are low-income, childless adults, to file “simple tax returns” to ensure they receive coronavirus payments. On April 10th, the IRS released a new tool that can be completed online.

For qualifying Americans, payments are $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for couples. Each qualifying child raises payments by $500. Payments are phased out for individuals with incomes above $75,000, or $150,000 for couples. Those individuals with incomes of more than $99,000, or $198,000 for couples, will not receive any distribution.

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