The Moneyist: Where’s my $1,200 stimulus check? My 2018 taxes ruled me out, but my 2019 return qualifies me — when will it arrive?

The Moneyist: Where’s my $1,200 stimulus check? My 2018 taxes ruled me out, but my 2019 return qualifies me — when will it arrive?

16 May    Finance News

Dear Moneyist,

I was married and didn’t qualify for the $1,200 stimulus check based on my 2018 tax returns. I am now divorced and filed my 2019 tax returns separately. It seems that millions of stimulus payments have already gone out. Where is my stimulus check? Will I ever receive one — or is it too late?

I didn’t qualify under my 2018 taxes, but I DO qualify under my 2019 taxes. I filed about 10 days after the traditional filing date, so I missed the first round. If there is a second round of stimulus checks, will the Internal Revenue Service give me a check based on my 2019 return?


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Dear Shaquanna,

Your economic impact payment is effectively an advance on a 2020 tax credit, so you should receive a stimulus payment of up to $1,200, but it won’t arrive until next year, unfortunately. Some 130 million checks have already been sent out, and millions more people are awaiting their checks. The IRS will send $1,200 payments to individuals with adjusted gross annual income below $75,000, and $2,400 to married couples filing taxes jointly who earn under $150,000.

‘Eligible taxpayers who received a smaller-than-expected economic impact payment may qualify to receive an additional amount early next year.’

— Internal Revenue Service guidance

“In many instances, eligible taxpayers who received a smaller-than-expected economic impact payment may qualify to receive an additional amount early next year when they file their 2020 federal income tax return,” the IRS said. “EIPs are technically an advance payment of a new temporary tax credit that eligible taxpayers can claim on their 2020 return. Everyone should keep for their records the letter they receive by mail within a few weeks after their payment is issued.”

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If the IRS doesn’t have a taxpayer’s direct-deposit information on file, the agency will mail checks, but those checks mailed out after a deadline last Wednesday would arrive by late May at the earliest, the agency said. You can submit your bank-account and address information through the IRS tracking tool, “Get My Payment.” It should also tell you if the IRS needs more bank-account information. Having your bank details on file will help speed the plow for a payment next year.

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I receive hundreds of emails every week from people who have not received their stimulus check. Some were listed as dependents on their parents’ tax returns, which rules them out of receiving a payment this year; others do qualify yet wonder why they have not received a payment. If the IRS does not have your bank-account information on file, it will likely take longer. Approximately 14 million Americans don’t have bank accounts or 6.5% of U.S. households.

Also see: I received my ex-husband’s $1,200 stimulus check because we filed joint taxes in 2018. Should I give him the money or return it to the IRS?

Immigration status also plays a role. The government is paying American citizens, and some non–U.S. citizens, including “legal permanent residents” or green-card holders, according to the IRS. Marriage to a green-card holder does not necessarily mean a second stimulus check, lawyers say. Others have had their stimulus checks garnished due to unpaid child-support payments. If you are behind on student loans, however, that will not impact your payment.

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The White House is mulling a second round of payments, two senior administrative officials told CNBC Thursday CMCS, +0.32% CMCSA, +0.44%. The White House released a statement in response to that report: “As President Trump has said, we are going to ensure that we take care of all Americans so that we emerge from this challenge healthy, stronger, and with economic prosperity, which is why the White House is focused on pro-growth, middle class tax and regulatory relief.”

Congratulations on starting a new life, Shaquanna. I wish you a healthy, happy and safe 2020.

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at Want to read more?Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here

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