By:  Judy M. Springer, Esquire

In general, you do not need to do anything according to the IRS to obtain your federal stimulus payment. The IRS expects to begin issuing the payments this month. Depending on your circumstances, you might want to take some pro-active steps.

Who Qualifies?

If you have adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 per year as an individual, or less than

$150,000 for married couples filing joint returns, you will receive the full payment $1,200 per spouse. For Head of Household filers for 2018-2019, you receive the full payment with an adjusted gross income below $112,500. In addition to the $1,200 per spouse (or individual taxpayer for a non-joint return), the payment will also include up to $500 per child under the age of 17 as of December 31, 2020. For individuals earning between $75,000 per year and $98,000 per year and for married couples filing joint returns earning between $150,000 and $198,000 per year in adjusted gross income, there is a gradual phase out of the payment. For head of household filers, at $112,500 through $136,500, the payments are phased out. The IRS will use the 2019 tax return filed by you to calculate your payment. If you have not yet filed your 2019 taxes, the IRS will use the 2018 tax return.

What do I Need to Do?

If you filed taxes in 2018 or 2019, you do not necessarily need to do anything – UNLESS you separated from your spouse since you last filed taxes or haven’t filed taxes with your new residence. If you are recently separated or have moved and your last refund was deposited into a joint account or mailed to a prior residence, you may want to go to www.irs.gov (it may be too early—see below) to sign up for direct deposit so that the check does not get sent to the other spouse at the marital residence or deposited into an account that no longer belongs to you, is closed, or to which you no longer have access. You will also receive the payment sooner and will not have to leave your home to make a trip to the bank if the IRS did not previously have your bank information to make a direct deposit. The IRS plans to develop an online portal to enter your banking information but has not yet done so as of the writing of this piece.

If you are supposed to file a return for 2018 or 2019 but have not yet filed for either year, the IRS urges you to file ASAP so that your payment will be processed. The sooner you file the better.

The IRS has stated that these payments will be available through the end of 2020. If you did not qualify based upon your 2019 income and your 2020 income is reduced, you may qualify for a

payment when you file your 2020 return. Pennsylvania has stated that it will not tax the stimulus payment as income for your 2020 Pennsylvania Income Tax Return.

If you are a Social Security recipient or receive Railroad Retirement benefits are not required to file a tax return, you will still receive your individual benefits because the government has that information. The government would not have your dependent information.

For more information, see the IRS links below: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/economic-impact-payments-what-you-need-to-know

For those taxpayers who filed jointly in 2018 or 2019 and are no longer together with their spouse or for those taxpayers who designate which parent claims children on taxes because the parents do not live together, you may want to reach out to an attorney to make sure that you receive your appropriate payment and that it is not sent to a spouse, former spouse, or the parent of your children if it should not be sent to them. If you want to talk to any of the Family Law Attorneys at Astor Weiss Kaplan & Mandel LLP regarding this or any other issues relating to COVID-19 or otherwise, feel free to contact us. We are working remotely and are here to serve you in this unprecedented time.

David Gutin, Esquire – dgutin@astorweiss.com

Gerald Schorr – gschorr@astorweiss.com

Julie Auerbach – jauerbach@astorweiss.com

Judy Springer – jspringer@astorweiss.com

Dina Ronsayro – dronsayro@astorweiss.com