Stimulus Check Frequently Asked Questions


The $2 trillion relief bill will send money directly to Americans, greatly expand unemployment coverage and make a number of other changes.

We have been reviewing the stimulus bill and have compiled a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the economic stimulus checks.

Here are the questions that this post will answer:

When will I receive my stimulus check?

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced today (March 30th) that the distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks.

How much will I receive?

  • $1,200 per adult or $2,400 for married couples filing jointly
  • $500 per child

Are there income limits on checks?

Yes. The amount of the checks would start to phase out for those earning more than $75,000 ($150,000 for joint returns and $112,500 for heads of household). This is adjusted gross income (AGI), not taxable income. You can find your AGI online 8(b) of your 2019 form 1040.

Is the check being mailed or sent direct deposit?

The check will be sent in the same method you received your IRS refund. If you are not set up for direct deposit, your check will be mailed using the address on your most recent tax return.

In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

What if I don’t have the same bank account or the information is incorrect?

If the bank account information on your return is invalid, the deposit will not go through. If this happens, the IRS will mail your check to the address on your most recent tax return.

Will I need a Social Security Number to get a check?

Yes. You will need an SSN or a taxpayer identification number.

Do I need to file anything to get my check?

No. If you have filed a tax return for 2019 or 2018, you don’t need to do anything else. If you haven’t filed taxes for either year, the IRS recommends that you file back taxes for 2018.

Will the IRS take my check if I owe back taxes?

No, you will receive your check even if you owe back taxes.

Are the payments taxable income?

No. The checks won’t be considered as income on your 2020 tax return.

How many payments will I receive?

Just one. Future bills could order up additional payments.

Can I get a stimulus check if I’m self-employed?

Yes, as long as you meet the requirements listed above.

Do college students get a check?

Not if anyone claims them as a dependent on a tax return. Usually, students under age 24 are dependents in the eyes of the taxing authorities if a parent pays for at least half of their expenses. If the student files their own return and claims themselves then they should receive their own check.

Will I receive this check if I’m still working?


Will I receive this check if I’m on unemployment?


Will I receive a check if I’m retired?

Retired seniors are eligible so long as they meet the other criteria listed above. If you depend on Social Security but normally don’t file a tax return, you do not need to file a tax return to get the check.

What if my check doesn’t arrive?

Within 15 days of mailing your check (or directly depositing it into your bank account), you will receive a notice in the mail indicating the method of payment, the amount of payment, and an IRS phone number to call if you didn’t receive your payment.

Both the payment (paper check) and notice will be mailed to your last known address the IRS has on file. If you have recently moved, you should file a Form 8822 with the IRS and a change of address notice with the U.S. Postal Service. This will ensure correspondence and payments from the IRS will be sent to your new address.

IRS Code 414: Retirement Plans and Your Taxes

IRS Code 162: What Is an Ordinary and Necessary Business Expense?


Amy Northard, CPA

The Accountant for Creatives®
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