Harbert College School of Accountancy PWC Professor Kimberly Key provides information on federal stimulus checks, payment amounts and how long it might take to receive them.
How much will I receive?
The maximum stimulus check amounts are $1,200 per adult (so $2,400 for a married couple filing jointly) plus $500 per dependent child under age 17. (The under age 17 rule obviously cuts out any stimulus for parents of college-aged dependents.) For example, a married couple who have a 10-year-old child they claim as a dependent will receive $2,900. An unmarried person with the same child will receive $1,700. But remember, there are income limits for stimulus check eligibility. Adjusted gross income in 2019 must be less than certain amounts in order to get the maximum stimulus: $75,000 for single, $112,500 head of household and $150,000 for married filing jointly. Taxpayers with income that is slightly above those amounts are eligible for smaller checks. The IRS will use 2018 information if a 2019 tax return has not yet been filed. It is also possible that taxpayers who do not qualify for the stimulus payments right now could qualify when they file their 2020 tax returns. As usual with taxes, the details can be a bit complex because Congress is trying to be flexible and consider current as well as future information.
Will the checks be counted as income when we pay our 2020 taxes?
The stimulus payments are technically tax credits, so they will not be subject to federal or state taxable income.
When should most Americans receive their check?
Many Americans (reportedly 80 million or so) have already received their money by direct deposit to bank accounts. But if the IRS didn’t have recent bank account information, they could not make a deposit. For some people, the IRS will use Social Security Administration information. It is going to be frustrating for some people who will have to wait to receive a check in the mail, but anyone who is entitled to the money will eventually receive it. The IRS reports that paper checks were starting to be mailed the week of April 20 but that it could take several months to process all the paper checks. The IRS mailing schedule is based on adjusted gross income with lower income level taxpayers getting checks first.
About Kimberly Key:
Kimberly Key serves as the PWC Professor of Accounting in the School of Accountancy in Auburn University’s Harbert College of Business. Her research interests are primarily in the areas of earnings management, state taxation and the effect of taxes on asset prices. Her work has been published in the Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of the American Taxation Association, Issues in Accounting Education, Journal of Accounting Education and tax practice-related journals. She has received three School of Accountancy teaching awards and is an active member of the American Taxation Association.