by Christy Bieber | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on Dec. 29, 2020
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Help could be on the way as early as this week after President Trump put his signature on a coronavirus stimulus bill.
On Sunday night, President Donald Trump signed a bill funding the government and authorizing coronavirus stimulus relief. His signature on the legislation meant the long-awaited second coronavirus stimulus check can now be distributed. Millions of Americans are counting on the money to see them through the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The good news is, the Treasury Department is ready to deliver COVID-19 payments quickly. An IRS source told The Washington Post that millions of Americans could get their money as soon as Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
When the CARES Act was passed at the end of March, it took several weeks for the IRS to start sending out stimulus payments. This time, however, much of the infrastructure is already in place. The IRS also now has direct deposit information for millions more Americans. This is either because they already submitted their 2019 tax returns or because they provided their details to receive the first check.
Since the IRS already has both a protocol in place and the bank account details, payments should go out very quickly. And the agency has sprung into action to fulfill a promise made by Trump administration officials to get money out during the holidays. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin originally suggested the payments would come during the week of Dec. 28. The idea was that people would have the money before the New Year -- and it appears this promise could come to fruition for millions.
In fact, the Treasury hopes to begin making electronic deposits on both Wednesday and Thursday. If the agency has your bank details on file, watch your bank account carefully as the IRS will be distributing the funds in large tranches. Those who are expecting paper checks, however, will need to wait a little longer. The official who laid out this aggressive timeline did warn that the timing could change if the holidays or other obstacles affect delivery of the funds.
Still, it's good news for Americans hoping for relief that payments will arrive soon. After all, the agency was delayed in processing payments because Trump initially did not sign the COVID-19 bill after it was passed by the House and Senate.
The president labeled it a "disgrace". He was concerned the stimulus payments were too small and the government funding bill contained wasteful spending. However, once Trump acquiesced and agreed to the hard-fought deal, the IRS sprang into action to try to get money out during the holidays.
As you await your check, it's important to remember that most Americans will see less money deposited this time. The newly passed coronavirus relief legislation authorized payments of just $600 per adult and eligible dependent child. The CARES Act payments had been valued at $1,200 per adult and $500 per dependent child.
Because the checks are for a smaller amount, the income thresholds are lower. Single tax filers will get their full check with an income up to $75,000 and married joint filers will receive the full amount with earnings up to $150,000. The payment will begin phasing out at a rate of $5 per extra $100 above these thresholds. Single filers with incomes of $87,000 or higher will not receive any money from the second check. Married joint filers with no eligible dependents will not receive funds once their income hits $174,000.
Both the president and Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for larger checks. Democrats have tried to pass legislation for additional stimulus, but this effort is not likely to be successful during the final days of the Trump presidency. Even if more money is forthcoming, it will likely not happen for several more weeks, so make sure your expectations are realistic.
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