Coronavirus

First round of US coronavirus stimulus checks have been sent out by mail

The first Internal Revenue Service stimulus payments have been sent out, with more on the way. Are you eligible for a check? If so, when you can expect to receive it?

First round of US coronavirus stimulus checks have been sent out by mail

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) started sending the stimulus payments to millions of Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic around the Easter weekend but some people haven’t received theirs yet. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the IRS has begun issuing the first paper checks and lawmakers are closing in on the next round of payments.

The IRS plans to mail up to 5 million checks per week for those who have not set up direct deposit to receive payment through their bank, and have created a schedule for sending the payments by mail. You still have time, however, to have your payment paid straight to your bank account if you meet the requirements for an impact check but haven't set up direct deposit with the IRS, Mnuchin said.

The IRS has said that eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019, made less than $75,000 and registered for direct deposit will automatically receive a stimulus payment of up to $1,200. Married couples that file jointly and made less than $150,000 will get $2,400, plus $500 for each qualifying child.

Approximately 80 million US residents who set up direct deposit with the IRS began receiving their stimulus money last week. According to the committee, the IRS intends to send out payments, both direct deposit and through the mail, on a weekly schedule until everyone eligible receives their rebate payment. To meet that goal, the IRS expects to send 5 million paper checks per week, issued in reverse "adjusted gross income" order, sending out payment for the lowest incomes first, the committee said. The IRS estimates it could take up to 20 weeks for everyone eligible for a check to receive one in the mail.

Those who set up direct deposit will receive their payments quicker: The committee said those who enter their direct deposit information into the Get My Payment portal by the Thursday of a given week may get their payment as soon as the following week. We've asked the IRS for clarification.

Do you have to give the money back eventually?

You don't have to pay taxes on any stimulus payment you receive from the IRS. It's also not an advance on your usual tax refund. If you get a check now, your 2019 tax refund won't be smaller as a result. You can spend the total of your stimulus money as you would with cash.