Low-income workers and some veterans and people with disabilities who had been waiting on the IRS to tell them how to receive a stimulus payment now have a web-based answer.
The same online tool that lets people enter their payment information can also be used by other groups of people whom the IRS already has some information on how to potentially increase the amount of their economic impact payment.
As the federal government begins to distribute economic impact payments to Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, most people eligible to receive payment — which is based on income-level cut-offs — do not need to take any action because the IRS is using recent tax returns to calculate payment and using the bank account listed on the tax return to automatically deposit the payment.
Among those who don't normally have to file tax returns, the IRS has previously stated seniors, Social Security recipients and railroad retirees would not have to file to receive payment because the agency would use information available on other tax documents.
That's still the case, but the guidance had left low-income workers and certain veterans and people with disabilities — who are eligible for payment — wondering whether they would need to file a tax return to receive payment.
The answer to that question, announced Friday by the IRS and U.S. Treasury Department, is for people in those typically non-filing groups to use a free tool on the IRS website to give the government some basic personal information — including Social Security number, name, address and number of dependents — and bank or financial account information.
That will allow the IRS to confirm eligibility for payment, calculate the amount, and directly deposit or mail payment.
Visit IRS.gov and look for "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here," according to a news release from the IRS.
"'Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info' is secure, and the information entered will be safe. The tool is based on Free File Fillable Forms, part of the Free File Alliance's offerings of free products on IRS.gov," according to the news release.
People in the low-income group who don't normally file a tax return may include single filers who earned under $12,200 and married couples earning less than $24,400 in 2019.
"The IRS continues to explore ways to see if Economic Impact Payments can be made automatically to SSI (Supplemental Security Income) recipients and those who receive veterans disability compensation, pension or survivor benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and who did not file a tax return for the 2018 or 2019 tax years. People in these groups can either use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info option now or wait as the IRS continues to review automatic payment options to simplify delivery for these groups," according to the IRS news release.
Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance and railroad retirement beneficiaries who have dependents may also want to use the tool for non-filers to claim a payment of $500 per qualifying child younger than 17, in addition to the $1,200 impact payment they will automatically receive, because the government won't otherwise have that information on dependents.
Another online tool coming for help with direct deposit
The IRS also announced that by Friday, a second online tool will be available to help people check on the status of their economic impact payments.
"Get My Payment" will "provide people with the status of their payment, including the date their payment is scheduled to be deposited into their bank account or mailed to them," according to the IRS.
"An additional feature on Get My Payment will allow eligible people a chance to provide their bank account information so they can receive their payment more quickly rather than waiting for a paper check. This feature will be unavailable if the Economic Impact Payment has already been scheduled for delivery," the IRS noted.
More information on economic impact payments is available at IRS.gov/coronavirus, where additional updates will be posted.