The CARES Act establishes guidelines that the agency implements using the tax information of each potential beneficiary. The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) starting point for establishing the amount of money a person will receive in a stimulus check is found in the beneficiaries’ tax returns.
Beyond the guidelines established by the CARES Act, under which direct payments are still distributed to individuals and families, the agency considers the data contained in tax documents as the primary source for determining how much money a person is entitled to.
It is precisely because of this that the IRS first processed the payments of those who had submitted that information to the office. As of last June, the IRS distributed some 159 million payments to Americans for a total of $267 billion, mostly through direct deposit.
In the case of those who do not declare taxes due to low income, being unemployed or in a street situation, the entity still tries to locate about 9 million through online tools such as “Non-filers”.
But, for most Americans, the agency used a formula based on the adjusted gross receipts (AGI) the taxpayer reported on his or her 2019 or 2018 taxes.
The CARES Act provides that individuals who file tax returns with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing jointly will receive full payment. This translates into $1,200 per eligible individual and $2,400 for married couples.
For taxpayers who report “income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for every $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 threshold,” the IRS states on its website.
The $1,200 or $2,400 does not include dependent payments, which are an extra $500 for each dependent age 16 or under up to a maximum of three. Estimates suggest that the maximum a family could receive – including additional money for children – under the formula used by authorities is $3,900.
Another point to consider is that bills introduced in Congress or remaining on the table for a second round of stimulus expand the eligibility criteria to include adults as dependents, which would allow more groups to apply for the additional credit.
As for the amount per individual and per dependent, the proposed figures in most of the stimulus plans presented at this time maintain the same amounts; except in President Donald Trump’s, which could be $1,000 instead of $500 per dependent.
Currently, talks to approve a second stimulus check are stalled in the U.S. Congress, and no further movement is expected until after the election.