The IRS has already started sending out economic stimulus payments authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. According to The Washington Post, the IRS also has a timetable for getting checks to every American who is entitled to one. Unfortunately, though, not everyone will get paid right away. In fact, it looks like some Americans won't get stimulus money until September.
(Use our Stimulus Check Calculator to see how much you'll be getting. For additional information on stimulus checks and payments, see Your 2020 Stimulus Check: How Much? When? And Other Questions Answered.)
Direct Deposit Payments Are Going Out Now
The IRS has already started issuing electronic payments through direct deposit. More payments should arrive in taxpayers' bank accounts in the next couple of weeks.
Will you get an electronic payment? It depends on whether the IRS has your bank account information. If you signed up for direct deposit of a refund on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, then the IRS has all the information it needs to pay you electronically. If you haven't filed your 2019 return yet, you still might have time to file before the IRS issues your payment. You might even get a bigger stimulus check if you file your 2019 tax return now. (On the other hand, you could get more money by waiting to file your return--it all depends on your own situation.)
The IRS also has an online "Get My Payment" tool where you can check your payment status, confirm your payment type (direct deposit or paper check), and enter your bank account information for direct deposit if the IRS doesn't already have that information and they haven't sent your payment yet. (For more information on the tool, see Track Your Stimulus Check with the IRS's "Get My Payment" Tool.)
If you receive Social Security benefits and typically don't file a tax return, the IRS will use information from your Social Security benefits statement to calculate the stimulus check amount. They will also send your stimulus payment electronically if that's how you normally receive your Social Security payments.
For other people who usually don't file a tax return, the IRS has an online portal where you can file a "simple return" to provide your bank account information.
If a direct deposit payment is rejected (e.g., if the bank account information is incorrect), the IRS will mail you a paper check instead.
Paper Checks Will Take Longer
If the IRS has to send you a paper check, you won't get your payment until late April at best. And the higher your income, the longer it will take to get your money. (For taxpayers without children, stimulus check amounts are reduced to zero for single taxpayers with adjusted gross income above $99,000, head-of-household filers with AGI above $136,500, and joint filers with AGI above $198,000.) According to reports, here's the timetable the IRS plans to use for mailing paper stimulus checks:
IRS Schedule For Mailing Paper Checks
$0 to $10,000
$10,001 to $20,000
$20,001 to $30,000
$30,001 to $40,000
$40,001 to $50,000
$50,001 to $60,000
$60,001 to $70,000
$70,001 to $80,000
$80,001 to $90,000
$90,001 to $100,000
$100,001 to $110,000
$110,001 to $120,000
$120,001 to $130,000
$130,001 to $140,000
$140,001 to $150,000
$150,001 to $160,000
$160,001 to $170,000
$170,001 to $180,000
$180,001 to $190,000
$190,001 to $200,000
If you don't want to wait this long to get a stimulus check, file your 2019 tax return as soon as possible so that the IRS has the information it needs to send your payment electronically. If you otherwise aren't required to file a return, file a "simple return" on the IRS website. Or, when it's available, use the IRS "Get My Payment" tool to provide your bank account information.
Copyright 2020 The Kiplinger Washington Editors