Although most taxpayers have received their coronavirus stimulus payments, a report to the House Ways and Means Committee indicated that around 35 million people are still waiting. And a significant proportion of them are non-filers, or people who do not need to file tax returns because their income is not high enough.
If you don't file a tax return or receive Social Security, railroad retirement, or veterans benefits, the IRS will not be aware that you need stimulus funds and won't know how to send you the money. You need to tell them, and the IRS has set a new deadline by which to do it.
You need to act by October 15
If you did not file a 2018 tax return and are not required to file a 2019 return, you'll want to use a simple form the IRS has created for non-filers to provide their information so they can get a stimulus payment. The form is designed for people who have an income below $12,200 for singles or $24,400 for married couples.
However, the agency has indicated that the form for non-filers will be available only through Oct. 15, 2020. The IRS will be conducting extensive outreach to alert those who are eligible to use it of this impending deadline. They have also warned that those who are required to file a tax return should not use it because doing could delay the processing of their 2019 return and any tax refund that would result from it.
How to complete the form for non-filers to get your stimulus check
The form for non-filers is available on the IRS website. To complete it, you'll need to:
- Create an account on the website, including a user name and password. You'll need to provide your phone number and an email address
- Provide your Social Security number as well as the Social Security number for each dependent for whom you are claiming a stimulus payment
- Specify whether anyone can claim you or your spouse as a dependent (you won't be able to claim your own payment if someone can claim you as a dependent)
- Provide personal verifying information including your driver's license or information from a state-issued ID
- Provide your bank information if you want your stimulus payment directly deposited (otherwise the IRS will send you a check)
The entire process can be completed online, and it should take only a few minutes to do so.
What to do if you miss the deadline
If you miss the Oct. 15, 2020 deadline to submit your form for non-filers, that doesn't mean you cannot ever get your stimulus money. But doing so could be more of a hassle.
That's because you'll need to file a tax return for 2020. The stimulus payment was an advance on a tax credit, but you still have the chance to claim the credit the traditional way by submitting a tax return. Unfortunately, the IRS won't begin accepting 2020 returns until sometime in January 2021. And filing a return can be a big pain if you aren't required to do it.
Still, quite a bit of money is on the table, as stimulus payments are worth up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per qualifying dependent. If you miss the Oct. 15 deadline, submitting a return next year will likely be worth the effort since it will be the only option left for getting your hands on these funds.