The IRS recently announced that it would send letters to roughly 9 million people who typically aren’t required to file federal income tax returns, but may qualify for an Economic Impact Payment. The letter urges recipients to visit the special Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool on IRS.gov before the Nov. 21 deadline to register for a payment.
The letters, delivered from an IRS address, are being sent to people who haven’t filed a return for either 2018 or 2019 – people who don’t typically have a tax return filing requirement because they appear to have very low incomes based on Forms W-2 and 1099, and other third-party statements available to the IRS. The letter urges recipients to register at IRS.gov by Nov. 21 in order to receive a payment by the end of the year. Individuals can receive up to $1,200, and married couples can receive up to $2,400. People with qualifying children under age 17 at the end of 2019 can get up to an additional $500 for each qualifying child.
Officially known as IRS Notice 1444-A, the letter is written in English and Spanish, and includes information on eligibility criteria. The IRS cautions that receiving a letter is not a guarantee of eligibility. An individual is likely eligible for an economic impact payment if they are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, have a work-eligible Social Security number, and can’t be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s federal income tax return.
People who are eligible should not wait to receive a letter and should register now. Alternatively, people can wait until next year and claim the recovery rebate credit on their 2020 federal income tax return by filing in 2021.
The IRS emphasized that anyone required to file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return should file the tax return and not use the Non-Filers tool. That tool is designed for people with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for singles. This includes couples and individuals who are experiencing homelessness. Those unable to access the Non-Filers tool may submit a simplified paper return following the procedures described in the Economic Impact Payment FAQs on IRS.gov. Read through the FAQs to advise your clients and get more information on the eligibility requirements.
People can qualify for a payment even if they don’t work or have no earned income. However, low and moderate-income workers, and working families eligible to receive special tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, cannot use this tool. They will need to file a regular tax return as soon as possible. The IRS will use their tax return information to determine and issue any Economic Impact Payment for which they are eligible.
Anyone using the Non-Filers tool can speed up the arrival of their payment by choosing to receive it by direct deposit. Those not choosing this option will get a check. Beginning two weeks after they register, people can track the status of their payment using the Get My Payment tool, available only on IRS.gov.