File now to receive a CARES stimulus payment

Millions of Americans are eligible for a stimulus payment from the U.S. Treasury Department as part of the federal government’s corona virus crisis response but will not receive this money unless they take additional action. This blog post focuses on those estimated 400,000 to 500,000 who are otherwise eligible for a stimulus payment but have not yet filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return but, under normal conditions, were supposed to do so. In this case there are two options:

  1. File a simple return yourself online at CAUTION: There are a number of scammers attempting to collect your personal information though various disguises of the official web site. This is the only legitimate and official self-service site for completing this task. Using this option does not fulfill your requirement to file a tax return if otherwise required to do so and does not qualify you for other refunds or tax credits. IF YOU USE THIS FORM NOW IT WILL REGISTER YOU FOR A CHECK BY MAIL. If you want an electronic payment or want to update your electronic banking information then you must either use option #2 below or wait until the IRS adds this capability to their web site.
  2. Work with a tax professional. This is best when you are trying to accomplish more than just receiving the stimulus check. Typically this will lead to filing a tax return that fulfills your legal requirements and may qualify you for other tax refunds or credits. In these cases, I’ve referred to it as “hitting three birds with one stone” (yes, I know, an outdated, socially incorrect and obsolete cliche).

This past week I worked with three people is this situation. Two filed regular returns and will qualify for refunds and credits in addition to the stimulus payment. The third did not have enough information to file a regular return and I couldn’t get it with the IRS service options limited during this shutdown.


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