Since I fill in for Phil as Phil Jr. at Bourke Accounting, I’ve been fielding a couple of calls here and there. Naturally, the most common caller right now has questions about their Coronavirus Stimulus check.
First, there’s the inquiry regarding when it will come. I hip everyone to the IRS’ website – coming in mid-April, under “Economic Impact Payments” there will be an app available to track your payment. The second question is generally asking about the amount that can be expected. Since I’m not going to speak of that which I know naught about, I – you guessed it – encourage the use of the IRS website and guidelines. Also, Kiplinger offers a stimulus calculator, so there’s that…
However, there was one caller who asked a question, for a friend of a friend, regarding child support. The gentleman wanted to know if his “friend” was still eligible for his check if he owed back child support. I didn’t have an answer for him, so I decided to find out.
The answer is no. If you owe back child support, your stimulus check might not be all your own. According to Nolo.com, “if you’re on the Treasury Offset list for unpaid child support, your stimulus check will be reduced by the amount you owe.” After the IRS takes the check, they’ll send it on over to the appropriate state support agency (Nolo.com). No one knows if you’ll receive an IRS notice first, but, come on, if you haven’t paid child support for the last few years, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, if you don’t know if you’re on this list or not, Nolo.com suggests calling the IRS to find out: 1-800-304-3107. Be prepared to wait. And wait and wait. And wait.
Oddly enough, if you owe any other sort of taxes or student loan debt, your check will not be affected (Forbes.com). Even if you’ve owned back taxes for years, the IRS isn’t going to make this time rougher on you. I like that.
Another reason you might not receive a stimulus check is if you’re living in the US without a Social Security number. I don’t want to talk about people being here illegally, so I’ll just say that some people who are here, maybe the opposite of legally, shouldn’t expect a check; after all, the IRS is sending checks based on tax returns and it’s hard to file without a valid Social. However, people with green cards or work visas are eligible for checks (USAtoday.com).
Young adults are also in a certain sort of limbo. If you claim your working 17-year-old as a dependent on your return, that kid will not receive a stimulus check. However, you, as the parent or guardian, will also not receive the $500 per kid check, as the dependent is over the age of 16 (USAtoday.com). Neat, huh?
Now here’s another question I had, but honestly, couldn’t find anything about: do incarcerated people get a stimulus check? What happens if you filed a return for 2018, got arrested and are currently serving a sentence? I suppose you would still be eligible, since a return was filed, but I’m not sure how the IRS views inmates and stimulus relief checks. I will find out because now I want to know.
Things are getting weird. Your Bourke Accounting bookkeeper or tax preparer can handle it, though. Your Bourke Accounting expert might not know all the answers, but they can find out. No one knows exactly when you’re getting your check. However, drop off your 2019 tax information and your Bourke Accounting pro can definitely tell you how much your refund is going to be. Hey, some things don’t change because of a virus.
Written by Sue H.