ST. LOUIS — Of the $900 billion included in the next stimulus package, unemployment assistance and the stimulus check probably mean the most to individuals and the economy overall.
"There is a lot of research that shows that giving checks to people, especially people making less income is money well spent because they are much more likely to spend those checks," said Radha Gopalan, an economics professor at Washington University. "And that is going to have a multiplier effect on the economy."
The bill is more than 5,500 pages. Along with our partners at Anders CPA, we dug through it to find the answers to your questions.
What's happening with unemployment benefits?
The agreement includes an extra $300 dollars per week in unemployment payments from Dec. 26, 2020 through March 14, 2021. That means the payments are not retroactive to bridge the gap in additional assistance since the first round of $600 in federal supplements expired at the end of August.
"Whether or not that is that is in conjunction with additional state benefits is yet to be determined," said Dan Schindler at Anders.
Will we get stimulus checks?
Another round of stimulus checks was a last-minute addition to the package, championed by the unlikely duo of Republican Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. However, the checks will be for half the amount as before: $600 per person for individuals making less than $75,000 per year, or $1,200 for joint filers making less than $150,000 per year. Smaller checks will go to people making up to $100,000 a year.
Will I get checks for a dependent?
The bill provides for an additional $600 per dependent child, under age 17.
Is this based on my tax returns?
Yes, it is based on the 2019 tax return, since the time to file those has passed (the initial stimulus checks could also look at the 2018 returns).
Will child support be deducted?
Like the first check, any child support that is past due could be garnished from the total payout.
What if I still haven't gotten my first check?
Visit the IRS website to determine what might be the issue - and if you were in fact eligible. Anyone who is still waiting when filing 2020 taxes should receive their payout in that return if they have not yet received a check.
"The stimulus checks are not going to be a lost benefit," said Schindler. "So by filing your 2020 tax return, all will be resolved and you'll get the money at that time. But if you have not received the first stimulus check, there's probably a reason for that. And whatever that reason may be, I'd look into rectifying the issue, whether it's an address issue, a bank account issue or information on file with the IRS at the time."
What if my situation has changed since 2019? I didn't qualify then, but now I do.
This is a situation that will also reconcile itself with 2020 taxes, Schindler said.
"At least in the short term, they will be using your2019 tax return and if your income limits were in excess of the eligible threshold, you probably will not be receiving a stimulus check at this time," said Schindler. "However, this is actually an advance payment of a 2020 tax credit. So what that means is when you file your 2020 tax return, if you have reduced income or income levels due to the pandemic, you will actually be able to recoup those the stimulus checks when filing your 2020 tax return."
Will I be taxed on this stimulus payout?
No, since it is actually an early payout of a 2020 tax credit.
When will we get the payment?
The first round of payments should go out no later than January 15, 2021. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the checks could begin going out as early as next week.
Direct deposits will arrive before checks in the mail. Checking that your bank account information and address are up to date with the IRS will help avoid delays.
"It's an aggressive timeline in my opinion. But you know what? That's what that's what the treasury secretary says. So that's what we have to go on," said Schindler.
If you have more questions, be sure to text us at 314-444-5125 and we will work to find out the answers for you.