Stimulus check: Eligibility, income limit, fine print and how the first payment could shape the next rescue bill


America is still waiting on another coronavirus economic relief package or a smaller bill that would send eligible Americans a second stimulus check for up to $1,200 to boost spending during the recession.

There’s no official date to restart stimulus package negotiations, despite an exploratory phone call that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows took last week and a call between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday. The Senate returns from recess on Sep. 8.

To get an idea of how a second round of payments might be issued if approved, including whether they’re taxable and how to get paid if you don’t usually file taxes, we can look to how the first round of payments worked.

Try following the steps we describe below if you are waiting for that first payment  — you can also use the IRS tracker or file a missing payment report. This story was recently updated.

Will you be taxed on your stimulus check? What are your rights?

These rules applied to the first stimulus payments issued in March and could serve as a model for the second round of payments, if there is one.

The payment is not taxable: You won’t pay taxes next year on a stimulus payment you receive from the IRS in 2020. The IRS doesn’t consider it income and a payment you get in 2020 will not reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return next year. You also won’t have to repay anything if you qualify for a lower amount in 2021.

Overdue debts: Under some circumstances with the first stimulus payment, banks and private creditors could seize your payment for outstanding debts. The current stimulus payment proposals would in most cases prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to pay debts. Likewise, you are not required to hand the check over to facilities, like nursing homes and landlords, to cover expenses.

Overdue child support: With both the CARES Act and the proposed HEALS Act, you would not receive a check if you owed child support. Under the House of Representatives’ Heroes Act, which the Senate did not take up or veto, you would be eligible for a payment if you owed support…Read more>>