At the center of the U.S. government’s $2 trillion
1. How much money should I expect to get?
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. You must have a Social Security number to be eligible for a payment, which will not be taxed. Kyle Pomerleau, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, estimates that 165 million people, or 93% of all tax filers, will get some benefit, with about 140 million of them getting the full amount. Seniors whose only income is from Social Security and veterans who rely solely on disability payments will receive the payments.
2. How will the IRS calculate my income?
If you’ve filed a tax return this year, the IRS will use the information you provided there about your 2019 income, marital status and dependents. (The usual deadline for filing tax returns, April 15, has been
3. How quickly will I get the money, and how?
How quickly is an open (and important) question. Treasury Secretary
4. Why is the timing important?
Recipients will, of course, be anxious for the money to help pay bills. But market-watchers also will want to know when the U.S. economy might see a burst of consumer spending.
5. What happens if my money doesn’t show up?
If a payment doesn’t hit your bank account or mailbox, or you get less than you think you’re owed, you can make claim for what you think you’re owed on the tax return you file in 2021. You also could try calling the IRS in hopes of reaching someone on the other end. When the IRS sent stimulus checks in 2008, calls to the agency more than doubled, and many taxpayers weren’t able to get their questions answered, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.
6. How much will this cost the U.S. government?
The Joint Committee on Taxation, the official congressional scorekeeper on such matters, says the cost will be $292.4 billion over a decade. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a think tank, had offered a similar estimate, $290 billion. Another group, the Tax Foundation, pegs the cost at $301 billion.
The Reference Shelf
- A summary from the Senate Finance Committee about the tax changes in the bill.
- Bloomberg Opinion columnist Michael R. Strain on the
economic effectsof sending people checks.
- What economists concluded about how the 2008 stimulus affected consumer spending.
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Laurence Arnold, Laurie Asséo
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