Even though most Americans are eligible to receive money as a result of the legislation passed last week by Congress to stimulate the economy during the ongoing national shutdown brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, a little-known Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation may keep millions from receiving the money they’re owed, according to HuffPost:
“The vast majority of Americans are eligible for at least $1,200 worth of coronavirus ‘recovery rebates’ from the Internal Revenue Service, but there’s just one catch: You have to file a tax return.
“Some might struggle to do so. Not everyone is required to file a federal return each year, and millions of households don’t.
“The IRS specified in a rebate fact sheet on Monday that people who usually don’t file tax returns, such as seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and people with low incomes, ‘will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment.'”
And yet, when those who don’t file returns attempt to do so, they’re facing more obstacles:
“One person in Indiana, who said their only income is disability benefits, said the free online tax software wouldn’t allow them to file online or enter bank account information. The person, who requested anonymity, had received too little in disability benefits to owe federal tax, and because they had no earned income, wouldn’t receive a normal refund, so the filing software said they weren’t eligible to file online.”
As you might expect, Congressional offices are being bombarded with calls from senior citizens who are afraid they won’t get the money they’re owed. A press release from Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, explained:
“Neal noted that because of the social distancing measures taken to limit the spread of the deadly virus, volunteer tax clinics are closed. He urged Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin ‘to find a solution that will allow vulnerable groups to receive these funds automatically, without needing to file an additional return.'”
The IRS has not yet made it clear if it will waive the requirement of a prior tax return or find another way around the sticking point. The stimulus payments are supposed to be made in a timely manner if they’re going to have any impact on the U.S. economy, which has essentially been placed into a government-imposed deep freeze until the danger from COVID-19 abates.
Featured Image Via NBC News