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IRS urges quick action to register children for $500 coronavirus payment by Wednesday

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The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department are urging recipients of Social Security benefits, as well as railroad retirement and veterans benefits recipients, to act quickly to register their children online with the IRS by noon Eastern Time on April 22 if they haven’t already filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, so they can receive an extra $500 per child as part of their economic impact payment for the coronavirus.

There have been numerous snafus with the stimulus payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, which the IRS began directly depositing in taxpayers’ bank accounts a little over a week ago. Most taxpayers are entitled to an economic impact payment of at least $1,200 per individual, or $2,400 for married couples, plus an extra $500 for each qualifying child.

However, many taxpayers have complained that the payments have been going into the wrong bank accounts or they are getting frustrating messages from the IRS website saying the payments aren’t available (see story). For some taxpayers, the payments went into the temporary bank accounts set up by tax prep chains and tax software companies for their past years' tax returns and are no longer accessible. For others, banks and debt collectors have been seizing the stimulus payments for old debts, overdrawn accounts, overdraft fees and delinquent loans. In some cases, taxpayers haven’t been receiving the extra $500 per child. The IRS and the Treasury are hoping to solve at least that part of the puzzle.

They want Social Security, railroad retirement and veterans benefit recipients who have qualifying children and didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return to visit the IRS Non-Filers tool by noon Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 22, and input basic information to receive the $500 per eligible child added to their automatic $1,200 economic impact payment.

“Social Security recipients and other federal benefit recipients will get their $1,200 automatically, but if they have dependents and did not file in 2018 or 2019, they need to use the IRS Non-Filers tool as soon as possible to input information to get their $500 per child,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a statement Monday. “If the IRS does not receive this essential information by Wednesday, their payment will be $1,200 and the $500 per child will be paid to them with a return filing for tax year 2020.”

That means taxpayers would have to wait until next year when they file their 2020 tax return to receive their $500 per child stimulus payment if they don't register their children as dependents within the tight timeframe.

Those receiving federal benefits – including Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, or Veterans Administration benefits – who have qualifying children and who weren’t required file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 should visit IRS.gov and click on the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” button. The site will ask for basic information to confirm eligibility, calculate and send the economic impact payments:

· Full names and Social Security numbers, including for spouse and dependents

· Mailing address

· Bank account type, account and routing numbers (leave blank if you receive your benefits through Direct Express)

By inputting this information, taxpayers have a better chance of receiving the $500 per dependent child payment automatically in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. Otherwise, their payment at this time will be $1,200. By law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount would be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will have until a later date to provide their information in the IRS Non-Filers tool.

Separately on Monday, the IRS issued Revenue Procedure 2020-18, which provides two tax return filing procedures for individuals who are eligible for the economic impact payment under the CARES Act, but aren’t otherwise required to file 2019 federal income tax returns. The first is a simplified procedure for eligible people who voluntarily want to file a tax return only to receive allowed economic impact payments. They can use the Non-Filers tool to submit information to the IRS to receive their allowed economic impact payment much more quickly than if they filed a paper return. The second procedure accommodates zero AGI electronic filers who use tax return preparation software or otherwise need to provide more detail in filing state or local tax returns than that allowed by the simplified procedure.

Federal income tax returns filed in accordance with these procedures should be filed as soon as possible but no later than Oct. 15, 2020, to ensure the IRS will have enough time to process all returns and make all resulting economic impact payments before Dec. 31, 2020, as required by the CARES Act. The Get My Payment tool provides the most up-to-date information regarding the status of an eligible individual’s economic impact payment.

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IRS Treasury Department Steven Mnuchin Coronavirus Tax returns Client strategies Tax planning Social Security
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