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Your top coronavirus stimulus check questions answered

If you have a question, text us at 314-444-5125 and we'll work to get an answer

ST. LOUIS — Stimulus checks are on the way.

Some Americans saw the money automatically go into their bank accounts on Monday. By Wednesday, the treasury department said 80 million people would have the money directly deposited.

The average person is getting $1,200, but payments can go up to $2,400.

5 On Your Side already has received a lot of questions about who qualifies for the coronavirus stimulus checks, how much people can expect and what to do to make sure you get a check. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the experts at St. Louis accounting firm Anders CPAs and Advisors.

If you have a question about stimulus checks, text 5 On Your Side at 314-444-5125. This is a text-only line. We’ll work to pass along your questions to the experts at Anders. We’ll share your questions and their answers during newscasts throughout the week.

5 On Your Side will continue to update this story as more questions get answered.

Stimulus check resources: 

My husband passed away in December, and we jointly filed 2018 and 2019 taxes. I got a $2,400 stimulus check. Do I have to repay $1,200 of it?

As it stands today, the IRS is only looking at the filing status and Adjusted Gross Income of taxpayers for calendar 2019 (or 2018 if necessary). The IRS is not requiring any repayment once stimulus money is received based on the tax return relied on to determine the amount. As such, if you receive $2,400 based on the tax return the IRS reviewed, you will not be required to repay any of it.

If I have a payment plan with the IRS and payments are being debited from my bank account, do I need to do anything further to get my stimulus check?

No, nothing further is needed as the IRS payment plan and the IRS stimulus checks are not interrelated. The CARES Act actually suspends almost all efforts to garnish tax refunds to repay debts, including those to the IRS. If you contact the IRS, they are offering to suspend installment plan payments from April 1 – July 15. If you would like to take this option, we would recommend contacting your bank to stop the automatic draft of payments to any payment plan.

Can people experiencing homelessness qualify for a stimulus check if they don't have a mailing address?

While anyone can qualify for the stimulus check, the individual must fall under certain income limitations, have a valid Social Security Number and cannot be claimed as a dependent by someone else. However, individuals will need to have their bank account information and mailing address on file with the IRS to receive payment, which can be updated online. Those who are not sure if they have this information on file with the IRS or have not filed an income tax in the past two years can update their information with the IRS at irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.

As such, if a person experiencing homelessness does not have a current address and does not have access to one by way of a friend or family member, we would recommend they contact their nearest homeless support organization to see if they can help. The same advice applies if they do not have access to a bank account.

Can college students who have jobs and filed taxes for 2019 receive a stimulus check?

If children, including some college students, can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return, they are not eligible for the stimulus check. Given this, any college student claimed as a dependent would not receive a check. However, if you are not claimed as a dependent (whether you are a college student or not), you could qualify if you meet the other criteria. This has been a common question among our clients, and you can find this and additional answers like these at our COVID-19 Resource Center at our website anderscpa.com.

If I had my taxes prepared by a company that issues a refund to a debit card, will my stimulus check be deposited to it or to my checking account?

While it appears the IRS contemplated issuing stimulus payments via debit card, it was decided the stimulus checks will only be directly deposited into bank accounts on file with the IRS or mailed to taxpayers at their last address of record if they do not have a bank account on file with the IRS. As such, if your last bank account of record with the IRS is the account used by your tax preparer’s bank for your debit card refund, our advice is to update your bank account information on file with the IRS to have your stimulus check directed to a different account. This can be done on the IRS Economic Impact Payments website.

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