Politics

Time’s almost up to claim your $1,200 stimulus check

Time is running out to register for a $1,200 stimulus check for people who haven’t yet received the federal payment and don’t normally file tax returns. The IRS said it will close its registration site on November 21 at 3 p.m. Eastern time

College students and low-income adults may be among those who qualify for the money but haven’t yet received a check, the tax agency said. The IRS had sent letters to about 9 million people who may be eligible for a check, reminding them of the deadline to register at the agency’s so-called Non-Filers tool to qualify for the payment.

The IRS is trying to track down people who earlier missed the stimulus payments, which were authorized in March by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. That law provided up to $1,200 to eligible individuals and up to $2,400 for married couples, with an additional $500 for each dependent under 17. 

But because the IRS relied on data provided in tax returns — such as direct-deposit information or home addresses where the agency could mail checks — millions of adults who don’t normally file taxes may have been missed in the initial distribution of the funds. 

People who don’t file federal income taxes are typically senior citizens, low-income households or college students who aren’t claimed as dependents by their parents. Because they don’t normally file returns, some may have fallen through the cracks. 

“The Non-Filers tool is designed for people with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for singles, who could not be claimed as a dependent by someone else,” the IRS said on Thursday. “This includes couples and individuals who are experiencing homelessness.”


A Nation In Need: A Stimulus Checklist

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The IRS said people who are federal beneficiaries, such as people who collect Social Security benefits, but already received a stimulus check can also register at the Non-Filers site if their children should have received $500 but didn’t. 

The IRS said people using the Non-Filers tool can choose to get their $1,200 via direct deposit; otherwise they’ll receive a check by mail. 

The IRS has cautioned that receiving a letter from the agency about the stimulus payments doesn’t guarantee eligibility. Some people are excluded from the payments, such as immigrants without a Green Card.

Who shouldn’t register?

The tax agency cautioned that people who were required to file taxes in 2018 or 2019 should not use the Non-Filers tool. Earlier this year, the IRS relied on data from consumers’ most recent tax return when it directed payments to taxpayers.

“For those who haven’t filed a 2019 tax return, or it has not been processed yet, the IRS used the information from the 2018 tax return to calculate the amount and issued a payment,” the agency said on Thursday. “The IRS is not able to correct or issue additional payments at this time and will provide further details on IRS.gov on the action people may need to take in the future.”

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