It Just Got Easier for People Who Don’t File Taxes to Get a Coronavirus Check

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The IRS has released a feature on its website that will get you your coronavirus relief check faster if you aren’t required to file a tax return.

The Non-filers Enter Payment Info Here feature debuted on the IRS website on Friday, April 10. For several weeks, the IRS had urged people who don’t file taxes or receive Social Security benefits to file a simple tax return to speed up the payment process.

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Using the free new feature, you can get your stimulus payment without filing a tax return by providing your:

  • Name
  • Mailing address and email address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Bank account number and routing number, if you have one
  • Identity Protection PIN if you received one from the IRS earlier this year. (An IP PIN is a six-digit number that the IRS assigns to identity theft victims whose account issues have been resolved.)
  • Driver’s license or state ID number, if you have one

You’ll also need to provide the name of each child you’re claiming as a dependent, their Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number, and their relationship to you and your spouse. 

You’ll get an additional $500 for each child under 16 you claim on top of the $1,200 you’ll get if you’re single or $2,400 if you’re married.

Who Should Use the Non-Filers Tool for Coronavirus Payments?

You can use the tool if you aren’t required to file a tax return because your gross income for 2019 was below $12,200 if you’re single or $24,400 if you’re married.

If you receive Social Security benefits, you don’t need to enter your information; the IRS will use your benefits statement to process your payment.

However, if you get Supplemental Security Income or VA benefits but not Social Security, you should use the non-filers tool or submit a simple tax return.

If you’ve already filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or you plan to do so, you should NOT use this feature.

When Should You Still File a Tax Return?

Using the non-filer feature is probably a safe bet if you didn’t earn income in 2018 or 2019. But if you had some type of income, consider using a free tax filing program to determine whether you’re eligible for any tax credits first. You can prepare a draft return and then use the non-filer feature if you don’t find any you qualify for.

One credit you may have overlooked is the Earned Income Tax Credit. As of December 2019, about 25 million Americans with low or middle incomes qualified for the credit, which averaged $2,459. But about 21% of them missed out on that free money because they never claimed the credit.

 

Pro Tip

If you were eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit in a past year, you can file a past return for as far back as 2016 to claim the credit.

But whether you use the non-filer tool or file a tax return, it’s important that you do so quickly to get your payment — and that you provide your bank account information. The IRS has already started depositing payments, and if you receive a paper check, you could add months to your wait time.

Robin Hartill is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She is the voice behind the Dear Penny personal finance advice column.