COVID-19

The COVID relief package is official. When will we see direct payments?

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Mar 12, 2021
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Getting checks out to Americans who are already in the IRS’ system should be quick this time around. Jeff Fusco/Getty Images
COVID-19

The COVID relief package is official. When will we see direct payments?

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Mar 12, 2021
Heard on:
Getting checks out to Americans who are already in the IRS’ system should be quick this time around. Jeff Fusco/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The White House says relief payments sent by direct deposit could start hitting bank accounts this weekend. The payments are part of the nearly $2 trillion COVID relief bill President Joe Biden signed Thursday.

Individuals making up to $75,000 a year and married couples earning up to $150,000 will get the full $1,400 relief payment. If the IRS already has your bank account information, you’re all set, and you could see your direct deposit payment this weekend.

If you’ve already filed your 2020 taxes, that’s what the IRS will use to determine if you’re eligible for a payment. Otherwise it’ll use your 2019 tax return.

If you just registered your bank account with the IRS when you paid your 2020 taxes, it’s not clear if the IRS will be able to use that account. We also don’t know yet if the IRS will set up an online portal like it did with the first relief checks, where people can register for direct payments. The agency shut down the portal last May and didn’t open it up again when the second round of relief checks was sent out last December.

If you haven’t set up direct deposit with the IRS, you’ll get either a paper check or debit card.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

How long will it be until the economy is back to normal?

It feels like things are getting better, more and more people getting vaccinated, more businesses opening, but we’re not entirely out of the woods. To illustrate: two recent pieces of news from the Centers for Disease Control. Item 1: The CDC is extending its tenant eviction moratorium to June 30. Item 2: The cruise industry didn’t get what it wanted — restrictions on sailing from U.S. ports will stay in place until November. Very different issues with different stakes, but both point to the fact that the CDC thinks we still have a ways to go before the pandemic is over, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, who used to work at the CDC and now teaches at Boston College.

How are those COVID relief payments affecting consumers?

Payments started going out within days of President Joe Biden signing the American Rescue Plan, and that’s been a big shot in the arm for consumers, said John Leer at Morning Consult, which polls Americans every day. “Consumer confidence is really on a tear. They are growing more confident at a faster rate than they have following the prior two stimulus packages.” Leer said this time around the checks are bigger and they’re getting out faster. Now, rising confidence is likely to spark more consumer spending. But Lisa Rowan at Forbes Advisor said it’s not clear how much or how fast.

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