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Fourth stimulus check news summary: 20 April 2021

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US stimulus check live updates | 21 April 2021

Headlines:

- Will there be a fourth stimulus check? President Biden addresses the issue (read more)

- Third stimulus checks have been sent to 159 million Americans, worth over $372 billion

- French minister considers US-inspired European stimulus push

- IRS Commisioner Charles Rettig: New Child Tax Credit system should be in place for July

- California begins sending Golden State stimulus checks (read more)

- IRS to send stimulus check 'plus-up' payments in weekly bursts as tax returns are processed

- G20 finance officials poised to back a $650 billion stimulus boost in the IMF's emergency reserves

- 4 out 5 of Google Trends top searches related to stimulus check: "fifth stimulus check"

Track your stimulus check using the IRS' Get My Payment tool (more info)

US covid-19: 31.79 million cases / 568,470 deaths (live updates from JHU)

Scroll through our related articles:

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

How to claim your stimulus check on 2020 tax return

If you did not receive the first or second stimulus check despite being eligible, you can claim your money when you file your 2020 tax return.

Full details on how to get your missing direct payment

Pressure growing for fourth stimulus payment

Around 20 US senators have called on President Joe Biden to include another round of stimulus payments to consumers in his infrastructure plan. It could reduce poverty levels from 8.7% to between 6.4% and 6.6%, according to a report by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

With unanimous opposition by Republicans for the American Rescue Plan, it is unclear if a fourth round of stimulus could make it through Congress

Meanwhile, as we've already been reporting, states like California have been offering some residents a version of stimulus checks. Low-income Californians could qualify for Golden State Stimulus payments of $600 each.

Gili Malinsky gives her take on the current situation.

US News

$600 Golden State stimulus check: who qualifies in California?

$600 Golden State stimulus check: who qualifies in California?

California has started to send direct payments to millions of residents, but who qualifies, and how can those eligible claim the benefit?

IRS pushes for electronic tax returns

With the deadline for 2020 tax filing looming in mid-May, the IRS advocates that filers should follow the digital path and avoid the 'old-school' paper route.

Biden to push for extension of Child Tax Credit beyond 2021

People wonder about a fourth stimulus check or recurring stimulus checks, but the most likely form they would take for the moment is the monthly direct payment from the enhanced Child Tax Credit. Direct payments are set to go out in July if all goes as planned.

The American Rescue Plan enlarged  the credit and made it available to millions more Americans but only for the 2021 fiscal year. Democrats want to make the provision permanent through the next phases of the Build Back Better stimulus and recovery bills on Biden's agenda.  They may have to settle for a temporary extension though.  

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

$600 Golden State Stimulus check: when are they being sent?

In February the Golden State Stimulus bill was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who proudly announced: “As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most.

Included in the $7.6 billion state-wide relief package was a round of $600 stimulus checks for low-income Californians. It took a while for the state to get the direct payments processed, but they should finally be on their way. Here's what you need to know about the Golden State Stimulus checks, and when they will arrive. 

Read more

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: what has Biden said and proposed?

The effects of the $1,400 stimulus checks are beginning to be felt in the US economy as vaccination rates climb giving the American public more security to venture out of their homes. However, the road ahead for many struggling households is still long according to lawmakers urging the White House to continue direct stimulus payments until the pandemic emergency is over.

Where does the White House stand on recurring payments?

Are we moving closer to a Universal Basic Income?

NGO Humanity Forward thinks we could very well be, citing that $884bn has been issued in stimulus checks since March 2020.

Biden riding crest of American Rescue Plan wave

The president's popularity ratings have consistently been among the highest for any US leader since such polls began and US citizens have broadly embraced the impact of Biden's American Rescue Plan - as have over 30% of Republican voters.

US News

$600 Golden State stimulus check: who qualifies in California?

California has started to send direct payments to millions of residents, but who qualifies, and how can those eligible claim the benefit?

Read more

buttigieg

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (R) testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden administration cabinet members testified about The American Jobs Plan, the administration's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan that has yet to win over a single Republican in Congress.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

"Now is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new American economy"

A top Treasury Department official met on Tuesday with 20 top bankers to discuss President Joe Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan and ways to use public-private partnerships to expand economic inclusion, the agency said in a statement.

US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told 20 bank chief executives who are members of the nonpartisan Bank Policy Institute research group, that "now is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new American economy" that rewards work, not wealth, and create a tax code that helps end "profit shifting and tax games."

Adeyemo and the CEOs also discussed economic inclusion and ways to improve access to credit for low- and moderate-income communities, particularly with regard to mortgage finance as a pathway to building wealth, the statement said.

US News

Unemployment benefits: What state has the best payments?

With unemployment benefit amounts ranging widely across states, many are left asking which states provide the “best” benefits for out-of-work Americans.

Read more

"Vaccine policy is economic policy"

"We cannot turn the fate of the world economy around without it," says Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund,  Kristalina Georgieva

IATA head hits out at expensive PCR tests for travel

The head of global airline industry body IATA has hit out at the high cost of covid-19 testing, accusing providers of profiteering from travel, and calling for the industry to challenge whether PCR tests are necessary.

European airlines are counting on a travel rebound this summer after months of covid-19 restrictions left them struggling with minimal revenues and huge new debts taken on to survive the pandemic.

But any demand for PCR tests that can cost more than the short flights themselves threatens the recovery.

"We're clearly seeing evidence of profiteering by people who have jumped on the testing bandwagon," Willie Walsh, IATA's new director general, said at a virtual industry conference on Tuesday.

He said that governments had mandated PCR tests and were then charging value added tax on the cost of the testing, a scenario which he said needed to be challenged.

"The cost of testing should be significantly lower than it is. I think we've got to challenge whether PCR testing is necessary," he said.

PCR tests, the so-called gold standard test, can cost around 100 pounds ($140) in Britain.

Democrats unveil new campaign ad

A new advertisement from the Democrats lays out the achievements of the Biden administration after 100 days in office, including jobs creation, the vaccine rollout and the delivery of a third round of stimulus checks.

Golden State checks issue to begin

The California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) is in the process of sending out a round of state-specific stimulus checks to low-income residents as part of a relief bill signed in February.

The Golden State Stimulus bill provides $600 direct payments to certain residents as part of a $7.6 billion package. California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said that the support would be aimed at addressing “the human and the economic impacts of covid in a way that echoes President Biden’s American Rescue Plan and will help those who are hurting most.”

Wall St.

World stocks edge back as covid-19 cases climb

Global shares edged further back from record highs on Tuesday as lofty sovereign bond yields and rising global covid-19 cases had investors questioning high equity valuations.

Europe's STOXX 600 was 1.2% weaker, on course for its biggest daily sell-off in more than seven weeks after hitting record highs the day before.

That followed a mixed showing in Asian equity markets as MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.1%, close to its highest level since March. But Japan's Nikkei dropped 2% on worries that the possible reintroduction of covid emergency measures in the country's biggest cities would slow the economic recovery.

India reported 1,761 deaths from covid19 overnight, its highest daily toll, with large parts of the country now under lockdown, as the country battles a second wave.

"Markets are struggling to ascertain in which direction the next major move is," said James Athey, investment director at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

"The reaction to very strong U.S. data in recent days will have seriously disappointed the bond bears, suggesting the good news is very much in the price. Against that, we still have vaccine concerns, a rapidly spreading virus and potential tax increases which have yet to be fully recognised and absorbed."

Dollar

Dollar falls to lowest in more than seven weeks

The dollar dropped to its lowest in nearly seven weeks during the Asian session, while the euro rallied, as investors grew more optimistic about the pace of vaccine rollout in Europe and U.S. Treasury yields remained below their March spikes.

The dollar has fallen so far in April as U.S. bond yields retreated from the 14-month highs touched last month. The moves are a reverse of what happened in the first quarter of the year, when the dollar strengthened as U.S. Treasury yields rose, offering higher returns on the greenback.

Less than a month for 2020 taxes to be filed

The Internal Revenue Service announced confirmed in March that that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days.

"This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

When will the Golden State Stimulus checks be sent out?

While the federal stimulus check payments are overseen by the IRS, the Golden State Stimulus checks will be processed by the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB). The multi-billion dollar package was signed into law on 23 February but the FTB have just announced that they began sending out the first wave of payments on Thursday 15 April.

The first batch of payment will be sent to CalEITC recipients, who comprise the largest proportion of recipients. But not all those who are eligible under this scheme will receive the money straight away and payments are staggered in order of tax return filings.

Full story

Do stimulus checks count as taxable income?

After a range of new forms of federal relief were introduced to help deal with the pandemic, it can be difficult to keep track of them all. With the tax return deadline for 2021 now just a month away (17 May), how should you reconcile stimulus checks on your tax filing?

The good news is that stimulus checks do not count as taxable income, so you will not have to declare them on your returns. Furthermore, if you can show that you have suffered a loss of income since last year's filing you may be in line to receive an additional stimulus check, worth up to $3,200 in the form of a 'plus-up' payment. 

Stimulus checks boost household savings

New research from Bloomberg shows what an impact the three rounds of stimulus checks in the last 13 months have had on American households. Eligible Americans will have received up to $3,200 in direct payments over the course of the pandemic, and many have decided to save at least part of that money to stave off financial insecurity. 

Another factor in the decision to save may have been the lack of options for much of the last year, with shops, bars, restaurants and holiday destinations all suffering from restrictions to stem the spread of covid-19. As the country begins to return to some semblance of normality, some may decide to loosen the purse strings. 

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

How many people have received their third stimulus checks?

The IRS has been working to distribute the $1,400 direct payments since the American Rescue Plan was signed last month, with close to $400 billion sent out.

Full details on how many third stimulus checks have been distributed

VA beneficiaries finally getting $1,400 stimulus checks

VA disability or pension beneficiaries who don’t normally need to file an income tax return who saw their $1,400 stimulus checks delayed can finally breathe a little easier. Last week, those payments started showing up in bank accounts around the country arriving in the 5th weekly batch of stimulus payments.

Democrats aren’t taking a pause to make sure the latest recipients and the nation knows exactly who voted for and against the most recent payments. Although the previous two stimulus bills were bipartisan affairs, not a single Republican in Washington voted for the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. 

Debunking myths about what infrastructure is for Biden’s next stimulus bill 

Lawmakers are working with the framework of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, a $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill. The President wants to have workable legislation by the summer. 

Republicans plan to oppose the sweeping spending bill with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying that it won’t get any votes from his side of the aisle. One of the GOP’s major criticisms of the bill is that very little money goes to traditional infrastructure.  

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm sits down to debunk some of the myths about what infrastructure is.

Democrats get good news from IRS

The Hill - Democrats are welcoming the IRS’s announcement that it’s on track to start making monthly payments of the child tax credit in July, a step that could help their effort to make the expansion of the credit in President Biden’s relief law permanent.

Biden’s coronavirus relief law, enacted in March, directs the IRS to issue advance payments of the credit on a periodic basis, so that families receive money in installments throughout the year rather than in a single payment after they file their tax returns.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday that he expects the agency to be able to start making payments in July, as the relief law prescribes, and on a monthly basis, as Democrats had hoped. Read the full story here.

How much will you get from the expanded Child Tax Credit?

The vast majority of families in America will benefit from the expanded Child Tax Credit, including nearly 90% of kids in Colorado. So how much will you receive? Use this quick and easy calculator via washingtonpost.com to see how your family will benefit.

American Rescue Plan

When will child tax credit be sent?

The new-look Child Tax Credit was one of the most significant components of the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March. Payments for this new form of support are slated to begin in July 2021, but the IRS face a race against time to get the new system up and running by then. 

Under the new law, individuals making $75,000 or less or families with a combined earned income of $150,0000 or less will be eligible for payments of up to $3,000 for children over the age of six and $3,600 for those six or younger.

On Capitol Hill last week, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig provided an update on the preparations being undertaken to ensure that IRS can make these payments. 

Read more

US economy is ‘on the verge of something big’

It wasn’t cheap to send Americans stimulus checks, but the government gambled that the expense would be worth it because it would prompt people to spend, and that would juice the economy.

The first round of checks alone cost the federal government some $290 billion. The most recent round had an estimated cost of $465 billion. The big question was, would people mostly use the money to buy goods and services and blunt some of the fallout from the pandemic-induced recession? Or would they save it for a rainier day, which would limit how much these payments would boost the economy? Read the full story. 

How Americans meant to use their first 2 stimulus checks and how they actually used them

As batches of third stimulus checks from President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package continue landing in bank accounts and mailboxes, recent data from the Census Bureau shows how Americans used the previous two rounds of stimulus money.

Surveys from last year indicated that many Americans intended to put their stimulus checks into savings. However, it turns out that most people didn’t follow through with that plan. In fact, more than half of people spent the majority of their stimulus checks to pay off debt, and another quarter used the bulk of the money to pay for routine expenses, according to the Census Bureau.

The data contradicts a common narrative that putting cash in people’s pockets didn’t work because the money got stored away instead of being spent and helping boost the economy. In actuality, though, only 20% of people saved most of their stimulus.

When the bureau asked a more specific follow-up question that let respondents check multiple categories on which they spent their stimulus checks, the No. 1 response was on food, including groceries and dining out. More than 70% of Americans spent part of their first stimulus checks on food, and nearly 60% also spent some of their second checks on food.

Read more

Stimulus check update: Will you get a fourth relief payment?

CBS - Many Americans are wondering about a fourth stimulus check, even as the third round of economic relief continues to arrive. Around 159 million payments of up to $1,400 per person have been issued over the last month. Paper checks and EIP cards continue to arrive by mail. Plus-up payments, for those who didn’t receive what they’re eligible for, have also started going out. Altogether that’s most of the $422 billion allotted in President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act.

These relief payments are part of a larger effort to soften covid’s economic impact on households and brace the economy while the pandemic recovery continues. The stimulus package also extends unemployment benefits, strengthens the child tax credit, and much more. The recent round of checks follows the $1,200 CARES Act payments at the pandemic’s outset and the $600 payments in early January.

Full story

Child Tax Credit payments set to begin in July

The new-look Child Tax Credit programme, which will offer up to $300 per child in monthly direct payments, is set to begin in July despite concerns that the IRS would be unable to hit the deadline. The system will be adminstered using a new online portal that the IRS has been tasked with introducing. 

The American Rescue Plan set a date of 1 July 2021 for the "periodic" payments to begin, but IRS commissioner Charles Rettig had warned that the tax authority may struggle to get the new system working during a busy tax season. However the latest reports are far more optimistic and eligible families should now begin to see the payments arrive in July as hoped. 

Do you need to pay tax on stimulus check payments?

The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants runs through a few quick questions on sitmulus checks, including whether or not you need to pay tax on any Economic Impact Payments that you have received over the course of the pandemic. The answer, for all states, is no. 

The IRS states: "The payment is not includible in your gross income.  Therefore, you will not include the payment in your taxable income on your federal income tax return or pay income tax on your payment." 

Restaurants experience stimulus check windfall

We are now beginning to see the effect of the $1,400 stimulus checks on elements of the US economy, and it's looking like good news for the struggling hospitality sector. Restaurant Business has noted a 36% year-on-year increase in sales across the country, bringing them close to pre-pandemic levels. 

It should be noted that March 2020 saw some states institute some of the strictest lockdown measures and, for many, caution over the coronavirus was at a high. However, these figures are undoubtedly a step in the right direction and prove that the stimulus checks are capable of stimulating sectors and businesses that were badly hit by the pandemic. 

TAX SEASON 2021

Why is my tax return still being processed?

Over 159 million stimulus check payments had been made at the last count, and the IRS is also in charge of introducing the new-look Child Tax Credit (CTC) by July. The IRS has had a huge workload and there are fears that the volume of work has affected the tax return process. 

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig has assured lawmakers that the CTC rollout is on schedule, but admitted that the agency are still attempting to clear a backlog of tax filings from 2019. Here's everything you need to know about the tax return delay, and how it may affect your stimulus check payment. 

Read more

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Fourth stimulus check: what has Biden said and proposed?

The effects of the $1,400 stimulus checks are beginning to be felt in the US economy as vaccination rates climb giving the American public more security to venture out of their homes. However, the road ahead for many struggling households is still long according to lawmakers urging the White House to continue direct stimulus payments until the pandemic emergency is over.

President Joe Biden meanwhile is rolling out the second part of his three-part Build Back Better plan. In his second legislative push he wants to invest over $2 trillion in infrastructure for the future. His Democratic colleagues in Congress are urging him to include recurring stimulus payments in his plan “to support Americans who are still struggling during the pandemic.”

Read more

Could student loan forgiveness be in the cards 

CNBC - The odds of student debt forgiveness becoming a reality have never been greater. President Joe Biden said on the campaign trail that he’s in support of cancelling $10,000 per borrower, and now he’s asked his education secretary to prepare a report on his legal authority to wipe out as much as $50,000 for all. 

Yet even among those in support of cancelling education debt, there are disagreements, particularly over how big the relief should be and who should get it. For example, some have floated the idea of forgiving the loans of essential workers or only low-income Americans. 

Higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz recently put a report together, comparing some of these different forgiveness plans and their potential impacts. 

Read the full story at CNBC 

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Overpayment of unemployment benefits: should I give it back?

The covid-19 pandemic brought the US economy to a grinding halt in the spring of 2020, throwing millions of Americans into unemployment.  Roughly 40 million people received unemployment benefits in 2020, according to a Century Foundation report. The federal government stepped in to provide a backstop to state jobless aid. 

However, in the confusion of the pandemic, some received more benefits than they were due and may now need to pay that money back.

Read to find out why you may need to pay back overpayment of unemployment benefits and what you can do about it.

Restaurants providing stimulus to get workers back 

Many restaurant owners are boosting wages, reexamining benefits packages and focusing on workplace culture in an effort to draw and retain talent — fearing the labor pool will shrink even further when restaurants are expected to resume full indoor capacity in June. It’s not just a Bay Area problem, either. Restaurants nationwide are struggling to staff up at the same time. 

For more on how restauranteurs are trying to reopenread the full story at The San Francisco Chronicle.

TAX SEASON 2021

When is Tax Day 2021 and how can you avoid penalties?

As is to be expected, there have been some changes to this year’s Tax Day - the deadline for Americans to get their tax affairs in order with the IRS. The tax authority has extended the deadline by a month to allow more time to get things sorted, but the threat of financial penalties still looms if you miss it.

How to avoid fines on Tax Day 2021

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Can veterans receive a third stimulus check if they get VA payments?

The IRS announced last week that 320,000 payments were sent to recipients of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits who don’t normally file a tax return. This came a week after Social Security beneficiaries in the same situation began to see their stimulus checks.

Any veteran who received VA benefits in 2020 and their dependents are eligible for a third stimulus check. Normally no action is needed for these recipients to get their Economic Impact Payment, except in the case they added a new dependent that they are able to claim.

Full story

Biden

White House brief on infrastructure stimulus bipartisan meeting

Today, President Joe Biden hosted Members of Congress and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in the Oval Office to discuss the need for the historic investments laid out in the American Jobs Plan. A bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress—all former governors and mayors—participated in the meeting. These Members have a unique understanding of the impact of and need for federal investment in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure from their time as state and local executives.

The President and Secretary Buttigieg shared their vision in the American Jobs Plan to create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China. The Members of Congress engaged in a productive exchange of ideas, including components of the plan and how to pay for them. President Biden asked for their feedback and follow-up on proposals discussed in the meeting, while underscoring that inaction is not an option.

This is the latest in a series of meetings led by the Biden-Harris Administration to engage Members of Congress and key stakeholders on the American Jobs Plan.

As per the White House

Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Fourth stimulus check would lift millions out of poverty

According to a report from Elaine Maag and Kevin Werner at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center a fourth stimulus check would lift 6.6 million people out of poverty in 2021, in addition to those helped by other measures being taken by the Biden administration.

There seems to be no shortage of ammunition for the politicians backing a fourth stimulus check (or even recurring checks) but it also appears clear Biden’s main focus right now is his infrastructure plan. Though if he gets traction with that, he might be tempted to look at a fourth stimulus check. 

Fifth batch of stimulus checks sent out last week

In case you missed it, and you’re still waiting on your third stimulus check, the IRS did announce last week that it had sent out the fifth batch of Economic Impact Payments, with a total of more than two million payments being made. Processing for those payments actually started way back on April 9, with the official payment date being April 14 - that was last Wednesday.

1.2 million payments were made by direct deposit, so you should have seen that hit your bank if it was coming to you, while 800,000 were paper checks, so that could be arriving any time soon.

The IRS are going to continue to make a weekly round of payments, we’ll update you as soon as we know when this week’s payment is going out.

Biden meeting lawmakers to discuss next stimulus bill 

“I am prepared to compromise, prepared to see what we can do, what we get together on,” Biden told members of the press before Monday’s meeting. He will talk to lawmakers both about what should go into the plan and how to pay for it. 

This is the second infrastructure meeting the President has held with Democratic and Republican members of Congress. GOP lawmakers have signaled they could support an infrastructure bill but will push to shrink the president’s more than $2 trillion plan. The parties have disparate visions of what qualifies as infrastructure, Republicans would like a bill based around transportation, broadband and water systems. 

Hello and welcome!

Hello and welcome to our live daily coverage of all the latest news on the US stimulus checks on 20 April 2021. We'll have live updates on the third stimulus check included in President Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and news on a possible fourth direct payment.

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