THE SECOND round of stimulus checks will be sent out in the next three weeks as the January 15 cutoff date approaches.
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion relief package which includes $600 checks for Americans as part of the coronavirus pandemic stimulus bill passed by Congress earlier this month.
On Monday, the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a measure to increase stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person.
The payments are one-off checks to individuals who meet income limits.
But the Republican-controlled Senate will still need to vote on the measure.
Even if it gets over the line, only people under a certain income level will qualify for the payment.
President Donald Trump last week threatened to block the pandemic aid and spending package if Congress did not boost the payments and cut other spending.
Trump signed the long-awaited stimulus package at his private club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida and announced the news in a statement shared by the White House.
The announcement came less than a day after some 14 million Americans lost their unemployment benefits, which ran out because of the stalemate.
The massive bill includes $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies through September and contains other end-of-session priorities such as money for cash-starved transit systems and an increase in food stamp benefits.
There is no exact date when the stimulus checks could come out – but they are expected to arrive shortly after the New Year.
January 15 is the cutoff date and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and US Treasury must stop sending checks by this date, CNet reports.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Americans should look for a payment in the first three weeks of January.
They could start being handed out in the next few days, despite officials saying the timing could be more "challenging" this time compared to the first round of payments handed out in March and April.
Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, told the CNN: "The timing could be more challenging this time, but the IRS could likely begin to get the money out in January."
If you do not receive the second stimulus check by January 15, you will need to claim all or part of the missing amount when filing federal tax returns in 2021.
Under the current bill, Americans who earned up to $75,000 in 2019 will qualify for the payment, with the threshold set at $150,000 for couples.
Families of four could get a $2,400 payout.
Any change in your AGI or total income could increase or reduce the stimulus check.
This means if a person got a promotion or a new job, their payout could be smaller this time around.
The income limits in the most recent stimulus package are slightly different from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or the CARES Act), which will cut off more middle-class families from receiving aid.
The electronic deposits could go out on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a senior official at the Internal Revenue Service who wanted to remain anonymous, MSN reports.
SUPPORT FROM BIDEN
President-elect Joe Biden showed his support for the increased payments.
When asked at the end of an event in Wilmington, Delaware, whether he supported expanding the coronavirus checks to $2,000, he replied: "Yes."
Increasing the checks would cost $464 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, which prepares cost estimates for legislation before Congress.
Trump said: "As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child."
On Saturday night, he tweeted: "$2000 + $2000 plus other family members. Not $600. Remember, it was China’s fault!"
The coronavirus pandemic has killed nearly 330,000 people in the United States and led to widespread economic hardship, with millions of families relying on unemployment benefits and Covid-19 relief funds.
In March, Congress provided individuals with $1,200 direct payments and couples with $2,400 plus $500 per child under the $2 trillion CARES Act.
After the first bill was passed, it took two weeks for the IRS to start distributing the money.
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