A quick primer on your coronavirus stimulus payment:
- The IRS has a web page dedicated to coronavirus info related to taxes. And there is also a US government coronavirus page. If you check the pages, make sure to update them frequently by clicking the curvy circle arrow to the left of the search bar.
- You must have a Social Security number to be eligible for a payment.
- Payments will not be taxed.
- Seniors whose only income is from Social Security and veterans who rely solely on disability payments will also receive the payments, in the same manner they get their SSI or SSI Disability.
- If you filed 2019 taxes already (though the deadline has been pushed from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020) the IRS will use that info to calculate your payment. Didn’t file yet? They’ll use your 2018 filing. IF YOU HAVE NOT FILED TAXES RECENTLY (and are not getting Social Security) then you should file with the IRS this year so that they have your correct information.
- When the IRS has direct deposit info for you (about half of American households) that’s how you’ll get your payment. Otherwise, you’ll receive a check.
- Direct deposit payments should be starting around April 17, with checks following that.
- If you earn less than $75,000, or you and your spouse collectively make less than $150,000, you’ll get $1,200 for each of you plus $500 for each child under 17. Those amounts are reduced for people with higher incomes, and individuals with $99,000 in earnings (or $198,000 for a couple) get nothing, even if they have children.
- Sorry, kids over 16, college students who are dependents, and other dependents do not get a coronavirus stimulus payment.
Watch out for Covid-19 Scams
The US Department of the Treasury says, “If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or coronavirus stimulus payment in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams. Please contact the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov so that the scammers can be tracked and stopped.”
- Don’t provide bank account info, passwords, usernames, social security number or any other info.
- Verify that websites are legitimate. If you are visiting a website, you can verify the site is safe by clicking the padlock image on the left of the browser address. Be sure to check that the name of the server is where you really want to go.
Investment scams, miracle cures, and fraudulent GoFundMe donation accounts have become widespread, and consumers should be on the look out for COVID-19 related investment scams and fraudulent product claims, says the federal government.
There are several categories of scams, including:
- Phishing emails with malicious links claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO);
- COVID-19 related investment scams
- Miracle products claiming to prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19;
- Online retail fraud and counterfeit goods related to the virus
- Donation or fundraising scams
- Vaccine and antibody scams
Be extra cautious. Ask questions and find an additional news source for anything you hear. Remember, we all want this to go away. News to that effect would be good, but make sure it’s true! Stay home and stay safe.