Local accountant answers viewer stimulus check questions

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 2:54 PM CDT
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Many Americans will be receiving stimulus checks from the government from now into the coming weeks to cushion the blow from the impacts of the pandemic.

Accountants say these checks are a refundable tax credit, not an outright gift. Most won't have to pay the money back, but there is a possible exception.

If you haven't yet filed for 2019, the government will base your stimulus check on your 2018 income. If you earned over the threshold in 2019-- that's more than $150,000 per couple-- then there's a chance you'll have to pay that money back.

For this reason, accountants are cautious in saying outright that the money is definitely yours to keep.

"This thing has been implemented at a break neck speed but the infrastructure and the quality and internal controls aren't keeping pace. Things have been rapidly evolving and changing. So, I've got my guard up saying, will some of this be changed and repayable? At this point I don't think it will be, but I'm also saying there's a chance there could be some change down the road. I've been very cautious on advising people on that," said Krumm and Associates CPA Kenneth Krumm.

Stimulus checks will be deposited into the bank accounts of those who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and received a refund via direct deposit.

Social Security retirement and disability beneficiaries will also automatically receive their payments.

Those waiting to receive their check by paper mail could be waiting for it into September.

To check the status of your check, you can visit the IRS website link here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

You can also use this site to update your direct deposit information with the IRS or if you did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return.