HOUSTON — For those anxiously awaiting their stimulus checks or direct deposit notice from the federal government, a free alert service offered by the United States Postal Service can help keep you informed.
Informed Delivery® by USPS® is a service that lets you set up an online account to get an alert about the mail that is on the way to your home. After you verify your identity/address and sign up, "you'll get greyscale images of the exterior, address side of letter-sized mailpieces." You can view the incoming mail notifications/images from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.
If the piece of mail is from the IRS, treasury or federal government, that should be your first clue your stimulus check will be arriving soon.
(Images are only provided for letter-sized mailpieces that are processed through USPS' automated equipment, the mail service notes on its website.)
More on the web: https://informeddelivery.usps.com/
Yes, even direct deposit recipients will get a notice in the mail
The IRS says the first round of stimulus payments will be going out in the coming days, and recipients will receive a notice in the mail: "For security reasons, the IRS plans to mail a letter about the economic impact payment to the taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is paid. The letter will provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment. If a taxpayer is unsure they’re receiving a legitimate letter, the IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov first to protect against scam artists." - IRS.gov
Stimulus checks: How much will you get and when?
Here is what you need to know about your Economic Impact Payment. For most taxpayers, payments are automatic, and no further action is needed. This includes taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees.
Who is eligible?
U.S. residents will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers, and $2,400 for married filing jointly if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:
- $75,000 for individuals
- $112,500 for head of household filers and
- $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns
Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is between:
- $75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
- 112,500 and $136,500 for head of household
- $150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly
The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayers specific adjusted gross income.
Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans' benefits as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Retirees who receive either Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits will also receive payments automatically.
Who is not eligible?
Although some filers, such as high-income filers, will not qualify for an Economic Impact Payment, most will.
Taxpayers likely won't qualify for an Economic Impact Payment if any of the following apply:
- Your adjusted gross income is greater than
- $99,000 if your filing status was single or married filing separately
- $136,500 for head of household
- $198,000 if your filing status was married filing jointly
- You can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return. For example, this would include a child, student or older dependent who can be claimed on a parent’s return.
- You do not have a valid Social Security number.
- You are a nonresident alien.
- You filed Form 1040-NR or Form 1040NR-EZ, Form 1040-PR or Form 1040-SS for 2019.
How much is it worth?
Eligible individuals with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for head of household filers and $150,000 for married filing jointly are eligible for the full $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 married filing jointly. In addition, they are eligible for an additional $500 per qualifying child.
For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$112,500/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000, $136,500 for head of household filers and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible and will not receive payments.
Do I need to take action?
People who filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018
No additional action is needed by taxpayers who:
- have already filed their tax returns this year for 2019. The IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount.
- haven’t filed yet for 2019 but filed a 2018 federal tax return. For these taxpayers the IRS will use their information from 2018 tax filings to make the Economic Impact Payment calculations.
People who aren't typically required to file a tax return
Social Security and Railroad Retirement recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate Economic Impact Payments of $1,200 to these individuals even if they did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients are also part of this group who don't need to take action.
For Social Security, Railroad retirees and SSDI who have qualifying children, they can take an additional step to receive $500 per qualifying child.
There are other individuals such as low-income workers and certain veterans and individuals with disabilities who aren’t required to file a tax return, but they are still eligible for the Economic Impact Payments. Taxpayers can check the IRS.gov tool - Do I Need to File a Tax Return? - to see if they have a filing requirement.
Watch for the letter in the mail
The IRS will soon provide guidance for these individuals on the steps to take to get their payment as soon as possible.
For security reasons, the IRS plans to mail a letter about the economic impact payment to the taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after the payment is paid. The letter will provide information on how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment. If a taxpayer is unsure they’re receiving a legitimate letter, the IRS urges taxpayers to visit IRS.gov first to protect against scam artists.
The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call , text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.