The economic stimulus package recently passed by Congress contains a surprising and welcome addition for many Americans: a check for getting through the hard times inflicted by COVID-19. The stimulus checks work as a refundable tax credit that is written off on 2020 tax returns, according to The College Investor. It is designed to help those affected the most by the pandemic and allows them to pay their necessary expenses.
In order to receive a payment, a citizen must have filed taxes in either 2018 or 2019 as an independent, according to the IRS. The check should be automatically deposited in the tax filer’s bank account based on information from past tax returns. The check could also be mailed to a home address. No action is required to be taken in most cases.
Those who do not typically file, such as social security recipients, will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the check, according to the IRS. Single taxpayers with an annual income under $75,000 will receive the full benefit amount of $1,200. Married couples filing jointly will receive a lump sum of $2,400 if their combined income doesn’t exceed $150,000. Each child under the age of 17 qualifies for a further $500 credit.
Filers that earn over the amounts listed above can still receive reduced payments as long as their income doesn’t exceed $98,000 for singles or $198,000 for couples. For each $100 one earns over the $75,000/$150,000 mark, the payment is reduced by $5, according to IRS guidelines.
According to NBC News, many checks are expected to be deposited this week and in the near future. Most filers will not need to do anything to receive these payments as the calculation and distribution is handled by the IRS.
Lawrence Belcher, University of Indianapolis dean of the School of Business and professor of finance, says financial assistance of this magnitude has never been attempted before. The price this comes at is certainly a steep barrier: the whole stimulus package costs over $2 trillion, according to The College Investor. Yet America may not have a choice if the health of the economy is our top priority; as most businesses are either shutting down or experiencing drastically reduced revenues this is more an exercise in disaster management, Belcher said.
However, the bipartisanship support the bill received in Congress can be an encouraging sign. Assistant Professor of Political Science Laura Merrifield Wilson said that because the virus affects everyone equally, it will require a nonpartisan solution. Wilson said that compromise and speed are essential for the government to adequately address the needs of the nation.
The timing in which the bill came out is impressive compared to the speed at which typical American politics occurs, Wilson says. “[Politicians] understand that the issues going on right now are not partisan,” said Wilson. This has helped get the necessary legislation through, according to Wilson.
“People are going to unite in times of crisis,” Wilson said. “That’s exactly what we’re seeing here.”
For our latest coverage of the COVID-19 coronavirus’ impact on the University of Indianapolis, go to http://reflector.uindy.edu/tag/covid-19/.