By Ivan Pentchoukov
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began processing a new wave of stimulus payments with the first checks expected to appear in bank accounts this weekend.
The $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed by President Joe Biden on Thursday includes $1,400 direct payments to qualifying individuals.
“The payments will be delivered automatically to taxpayers even as the IRS continues delivering regular tax refunds,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.
The government is aiming to disburse the payments in the next weed weeks. Roughly 85 percent of Americans are eligible for the payments.
The stimulus bill is the first of all pandemic relief measures to not receive bipartisan support in Congress. No Republicans voted for the measure, which features a wish-list of left-wing programs, including the biggest expansion of Obamacare in a decade and a refundable child tax credit which is one step removed from universal basic income.
Republicans have argued that only 9 percent of the funds from the package go toward public health.
The $1.9 trillion bill mostly reflects the legislative proposal introduced by Biden. The $1,400 payments will go to each adult, child and adult dependent, such as college students or elderly relatives. Adult dependents were not eligible to receive payments in the previous two rounds of payments.
People with adjusted gross income exceeding $75,000 will receive smaller payments, which drop to zero once income hits $80,000. The payment starts declining for married couples when income exceeds $150,000 and goes to zero at $160,000.
People can check the IRS website beginning on Monday to check the status of their payments. Taxpayers who provided their bank information to the IRS will have the stimulus payments sent directly to their accounts. Others will receive paper checks and debit cards.
In a bid to save time, the IRS will use the bank info from the 2019 tax returns for those who have not yet filed their taxes for 2020.
If a person’s job situation changed last year because of the pandemic, which led to millions of people losing jobs or being forced to work reduced hours, officials said that the IRS will adjust the size of the new impact payments after the 2020 return has been filed and provide a supplemental payment if that is called for. Officials said those adjustments will be made automatically by the IRS for people who have already filed their 2020 returns.
Officials said they wanted to handle the payments this way rather than waiting for the 2020 tax return to be filed in the interest of speeding up payments to taxpayers.
Biden and his cabinet officials are planning to go on tour to celebrate the passage of the package. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Georgia as part of the tour.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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