COVID-19: Taxpayer Information
What You Need to Know About Coronavirus Epidemic Economic Impact Payments and Tax Relief
What is the CARES Act?
The “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act” was signed into law on
March 27, 2020. It provides economic assistance to families and businesses suffering from the
economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
Will I receive an economic impact payment?
One of the benefits of the law is that many individuals will receive an economic impact payment (a tax
refund) of $1,200. In order to qualify, your income must be below $75,000 for single and married filing
separately tax filers, $150,000 for married filing jointly tax filers, and $112,500 for head of household tax
filers. You do not qualify if you may be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return (even if
the person does not actually claim you). The refund starts to phase out for individuals whose income is
above these limits.
What if I typically do not file a tax return?
Some taxpayers who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the
economic impact payment. If you’re a U.S. resident taxpayer with gross income less than $12,200
($24,400 for married couples) and aren't generally required to file a tax return with the IRS, you can use
the ‘Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info Here’ tool at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-
payment-info-here to provide the IRS with your information needed to determine your eligibility and
payment amount. You should complete this tool as quickly as possible, so the IRS has the information it
needs to issue your payment. There is no fee to use this tool.
If you receive SSD, SSI, SSR, or VA benefits your payment should be sent automatically. The deadline has
passed to use the tool to claim dependents. If you have dependents for whom you did not receive a
$500 payment, then you may be able to claim qualifying children by filing a return for the tax year 2020.
Will I receive an additional economic impact payment for my children?
You will receive an additional $500 for each “qualifying child.” A “qualifying child” is a child, stepchild,
eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, or stepsister, or a descendent of any of them. A
“descendent” is a child or grandchild of these individuals. This would include, for example, a grandchild,
great-grandchild, or a niece or nephew.
The child must have a social security number (children with ITINs do not qualify), be under the age of 17,
have lived in your household for more than half the year, and must not have provided more than half of
his or her own support. Foster care payments do not count as support provided by the child.
You will not receive an additional payment for dependents that are not considered a “qualifying child”.
Are immigrants eligible for the economic impact payment?
U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are eligible. Other immigrants are eligible if
they have a valid Social Security number AND if they file taxes as a “resident alien.”
ITINS: In addition, if you file your return as a married filing jointly taxpayer with a spouse who has an
ITIN number, you do not qualify (exception: if either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any
time during the taxable year, only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN). Further, it appears that the IRS
is not issuing EIP checks for individuals who claim a dependent with an ITIN on their tax returns. Due to
the uncertainty surrounding claiming dependents with ITINS, it may be helpful to get assistance from a
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic in ensuring you receive the total payment for which you are eligible.
There is currently federal litigation over the government’s power to deny those with a SSN their EIP
payment for filing a joint return with an individual with an ITIN. Other litigation has been filed on behalf
of children with a SSN whose parents were denied the EIP because they file taxes using an ITIN number.
Those cases are still pending.
A “resident alien” for tax purposes is someone who files tax form 1040, not a form 1040NR. To file a tax
form 1040, you must meet the “substantial presence test,” meaning that you must have been physically
present in the U.S. for a certain period of time.
To meet the “substantial presence test” you must have been present in the U.S. least 31 days in the tax
year in question, and have been present in the United States for at least 183 days during a 3-year time
period, calculated like this:
• Count all the days that you were present in the U.S. during the tax year in question •
Count 1/3 of the days that you lived in the U.S. the previous year
• Count 1/6 of the days that you lived in the U.S. two years prior.
For example, let’s say that you are an H2A agricultural worker. You were present in the U.S. 130 days in
2017, 140 days in 2018, and 120 days in 2019.
For 2017, count 130/6= 22 days
For 2018, count 140/3= 47 days
For 2019, count all 120 days.
22 + 47 + 120= 189 days. So in this example, you were a resident alien taxpayer in tax year 2019 and
should file a form 1040, not a 1040NR.
Keep in mind that there are special residency rules for students and scholars temporarily present in the
U.S. (such as on an F or J visa).
If you did not file as a resident alien taxpayer in 2019 but are eligible do so in 2020, you will not receive a
check in 2019, but can claim the impact payment when you file your 2020 tax return.
What do I need to do to receive the economic impact payment?
In most cases you do not need to do anything to receive the payment.
The economic impact payment is a refundable tax credit that you claim on your 2020 tax return (which
you would file in 2021). However, the IRS can send you an advance of the refund in 2019.
This is how it works: If you filed your 2019 tax return, the IRS looks to the information on your 2019 return to see if
you qualify for the refund. If you did not file a 2019 return, the IRS will look to your 2018 tax return.
If you did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, but receive social security or railroad retirement benefits,
the IRS will look to SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 statements for information on whether you qualify for the
refund, and where to send it.
If you have not yet filed your 2019 tax return, it is recommended that you do so as soon as possible,
even if you are not required to file. This way, the IRS has the correct address and bank account
information to send you the refund. It is also recommended that you file electronically so that the IRS
receives it more quickly.
Where will the economic impact payment be sent?
If you indicated a bank account for direct deposit of your refund on your 2019 or 2018 tax return, the
IRS would deposit the economic impact payment into that bank account. Otherwise, the IRS will mail the
payment to the address that was listed on your 2019 or 2018 return or that appears on your social
The IRS has also set up a web portal for individuals who do not need to file a tax return to submit their
information to receive the economic impact payment. This includes, for example, individuals whose
income falls below $12,200 ($24,200 for a married couple), or who receive veteran’s benefits. The web
portal can be found here: https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/#/fd/EconomicImpactPayment
When will I receive the economic impact payment?
The IRS has begun issuing the payments. The IRS must issue the EIP by December 21, 2020. If you do
not receive the EIP, but will qualify for it based on your 2020 income, you can still claim the EIP (or claim
an additional refund payment if you have, for example, a qualifying child who you did not have in 2019)
when you file your tax return for 2020.
The IRS began issuing payments to taxpayers who already had existing direct deposit information on file
the week of April 13, 2020. Payments will continue to be issued over the coming weeks and months.
This includes taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees. Use
the "Get My Payment" application at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment to:
• Check your payment status
• Confirm your payment type: direct deposit or check
• Update direct deposit bank account information in some situations
What if I owe for past taxes?
Your economic impact payment cannot be used to pay past federal tax debts, other federal debts (for
example, student loans), or state tax debts. However, it can be used to pay delinquent child support
What if I receive the wrong amount?
If you did not receive the full amount to which you believe you are entitled, you will be able to claim the
additional amount when you file your 2020 tax return. This is particularly important for individuals who
may be entitled to the additional $500 per qualifying child payments.
What if I am unable to access the account with my refund?
If you file your return as a married filing jointly taxpayer and are an injured spouse, you may not have
access to the account with your economic impact payment. The IRS is currently aware of and working on
this problem. You may need to mark on your 2020 tax return that you did not receive your economic
impact payment. Further, attach a statement explaining that while the refund was deposited into an
account, you are unable to access this money.
There are also issues with refunds being wrongfully taken for due child support of a spouse. In this
instance, you should also claim the refund on your 2020 return and explain the situation in an
attachment. The IRS has not provided further guidance on these issues.
How can I get more information and updates on the CARES Act?
The IRS will post all key information on its website at IRS.gov/coronavirus as it becomes available.
PEOPLE FIRST INITIATIVE
What is the People First Initiative?
The IRS has announced that from April 1-July 15, it will provide taxpayers with some relief from collection
efforts and additional time to provide certain documentation to the IRS. The changes can be viewed
For taxpayers under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020
are suspended. The IRS will not default any Installment Agreements during this period.
Offers in Compromise (OIC)
• Pending OIC applications – The IRS will allow taxpayers until July 15 to provide requested
additional information to support a pending OIC. In addition, the IRS will not close any pending
OIC request before July 15, 2020, without the taxpayer's consent.
• OIC Payments – Taxpayers have the option of suspending all payments on accepted OICs until
July 15, 2020, although by law interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.
• Delinquent Return Filings - The IRS will not default an OIC for those taxpayers who are
delinquent in filing their tax return for tax year 2018. However, the delinquent 2018 return (and
2019 return) should be filed by July 15, 2020.
Private Debt Collection
New delinquent accounts will not be forwarded by the IRS to private collection agencies to work during
this period until July 15th.
Automated Liens and Levies
New automatic, systemic liens and levies will be suspended until July 15th.
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
What if I have Indiana state tax debt?
The state of Indiana is also taking steps to provide relief from collection of state taxes, including the
• Suspending the creation of most tax filing bills, new warrants and liens. Audits in progress and
legal bills will continue to be issued to protect statutes of limitation.
• Suspending creation of new sheriff and collection agency collection cases.
• Suspending outbound collection call activity to focus additional resources on assisting Hoosiers
with payment support and other customer-care questions.
• Suspending creation of new levy and garnishment involuntary collection actions.
• Canceling current levy and garnishment involuntary collection actions.
• Offering installment payment plan agreements up to 60 months.
• Working with Hoosiers to modify existing installment payment agreements.
• Moving existing payment plan due dates to July 15, 2020, upon request.
• Suspending payment plan terminations for missed payments.
You can find more information here:
2019 TAX FILING AND PAYMENT DEADLINES
When are 2019 taxes due?
The IRS and the Indiana Department of Revenue have extended the tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020.
In addition, the deadline for payment of 2019 taxes has been extended to July 15, 2020. However, it is
recommended that you file your 2019 tax return as soon as possible so the IRS has your current
information to send your CARES Act refund.
What about other tax deadlines?
The IRS has extended other deadlines as well. For example, taxpayers have until July 15, 2020 to file
refund claims or tax court petitions that were due on or after April 1, 2020 through July 14, 2020.
While it’s tempting, don’t fall victim to scams that promise to get you payments faster in exchange for
your personal information or for a fee – they can’t do that. Don’t believe scammers pretending to be the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS), representatives from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) or other
government organizations either.
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers to request any personal or financial information for the
Economic Impact Payment through email, text messages, or social media sites.
DISCLAIMER: Indiana Legal Services does not generally provide tax return preparation. Further,
a taxpayer’s decision to obtain representation from an LITC will not result in the IRS giving preferential treatment in handling
the dispute or problem and will not affect the taxpayer’s rights before the IRS.