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IRS to mail special letter to estimated 9 million non-filers, urging them to claim Economic Impact Payment by Oct. 15 at IRS.gov

IR-2020-203, September 8, 2020

WASHINGTON — Later this month, the Internal Revenue Service will start mailing letters to roughly nine million Americans who typically don't file federal income tax returns who may be eligible for, but have not registered to claim, an Economic Impact Payment.

The letters will urge recipients to register at IRS.gov by October 15 in order to receive their payment by the end of the year. Individuals can receive up to $1,200, and married couples can receive up to $2,400. People with qualifying children under age 17 at the end of 2019 can get up to an additional $500 for each qualifying child.

The letters are being sent to people who haven't filed a return for either 2018 or 2019. Based on an internal analysis, these are people who don't typically have a tax return filing requirement because they appear to have very low incomes, based on Forms W-2, 1099s and other third-party statements available to the IRS. But many in this group are still eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment.

"The IRS has made an unprecedented outreach effort to make sure people are aware of their potential eligibility for an Economic Impact Payment this year," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Millions who don't normally file a tax return have already registered and received a payment. We are taking this extra step to help Americans who may not know they could be eligible for this payment or don't know how to register for one. People who aren't required to file a tax return can quickly register on IRS.gov and still get their money this year."

The letter, officially known as IRS Notice 1444-A, is written in English and Spanish and includes information on eligibility criteria and how eligible recipients can claim an Economic Impact Payment on IRS.gov. The mailing, which will begin around September 24, will be delivered from an IRS address. To help address fraud concern, a copy of the letter (PDF) is available on IRS.gov.

If those receiving letters haven't done so already, this letter urges eligible individuals to register by October 15 for a payment by using the free Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, available in English and Spanish and only on IRS.gov. More than seven million people have used the Non-Filers tool so far to register for a payment. Those unable to access the Non-Filers tool may submit a simplified paper return following the procedures described in the Economic Impact Payment FAQs on IRS.gov.

The IRS reminds recipients that receiving a letter is not a guarantee of eligibility for an Economic Impact Payment. An individual is likely eligible if he or she is a U.S. citizen or resident alien; has a work-eligible Social Security number; and can't be claimed as dependent on someone else's federal income tax return. However, there can be a variety of situations that could affect an individual's eligibility. For more information on eligibility requirements, recipients should read the Economic Impact Payment eligibility FAQs on IRS.gov.

The registration deadline for non-filers to claim an Economic Impact Payment through the Non-Filers tool is October 15, 2020. People can also wait until next year and claim it as a credit on their 2020 federal income tax return by filing in 2021.

The IRS emphasizes that anyone required to file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return should file the tax return and not use the Non-Filers tool.

Don't wait: Non-Filers can still get a payment; must act by October 15

Though most Americans − more than 160 million in all − have already received their Economic Impact Payments, the IRS reminds anyone with little or no income who is not required to file a tax return that they may be eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment. This is true regardless of whether they get a letter.

"Time is running out this year for the IRS to issue payments," Rettig said. "People who normally don't file a tax return shouldn't wait to see if they receive one of these letters. They can review the guidelines and register now if they're eligible."

Available in both English and Spanish, the Non-Filers tool is designed for people with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for singles. This includes couples and individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

People can qualify for a payment, even if they don't work or have no earned income. But low- and moderate-income workers and working families eligible to receive special tax benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, cannot use this tool. They will need to file a regular return as soon as possible. The IRS will use their tax return information to determine and issue any EIP for which they are eligible.

Anyone using the Non-Filers tool can speed up the arrival of their payment by choosing to receive it by direct deposit. Those not choosing this option will get a check.

Beginning two weeks after they register, people can track the status of their payment using the Get My Payment tool, available only on IRS.gov.

Watch out for scams

The IRS urges everyone to be on the lookout for scams related to the Economic Impact Payments. In particular, watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to these payments. Be careful and cautious: The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information.

Remember, go directly and solely to IRS.gov for official information. In particular, both the Non-Filers tool and the Get My Payment tool are available exclusively on IRS.gov. They are not available on any other web site.

For more Information on the Economic Impact Payment, including updated answers to frequently asked questions and other resources, visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.

 

Tips for taxpayers who need to file a new W-4

IRS Tax Tip 2020-109, August 26, 2020

All taxpayers should review their withholding annually. They can use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to check and make sure they're not having too little or too much federal tax withheld. This tool offers workers, retirees and self-employed individuals a step-by-step method to help figure out if they should adjust their withholding.

Those who need to adjust their withholding should submit a new Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Certificate to their employer.

People who should check their withholding include those:

  • who are part of two-income families
  • working two or more jobs or who only work for part of the year
  • with children who claim credits such as the child tax credit
  • with older dependents, including children age 17 or older
  • who itemized deductions on their 2019 tax return
  • with high incomes and more complex tax returns
  • with large tax refunds or large tax bills for 2019
  • who received unemployment at any time during the year

The IRS Tax Withholding Estimator can help taxpayers check their withholding.

  • This tool will help determine if they should complete a new Form W-4.
  • It will also help users determine what information to put on a new Form W-4.
  • It will save them time because they don't need to complete the form worksheets. The Estimator does the worksheet calculations.

Taxpayers who complete a new Form W-4 should submit it to their employer as soon as possible. With withholding occurring throughout the year, it's better to take this step sooner, rather than later.

People should generally increase withholding if they hold more than one job at a time or have income from sources not subject to withholding. If adjustments aren't made for these situations, they will likely owe additional tax and possibly penalties when filing their tax return.

On the other hand, people should generally decrease their withholding if they are eligible for income tax credits or deductions other than the basic standard deduction.

Having the most recent pay statements, information for other income sources and the most recent income tax return can help taxpayers use the Withholding Estimator to figure out their correct withholding.

They might also need to adjust their state or local withholding. They can contact their state's department of revenue to learn more.

 

13.9 million Americans to receive IRS tax refund interest; taxable payments to average $18

IR-2020-183, August 18, 2020

WASHINGTON — This week the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service will send interest payments to about 13.9 million individual taxpayers who timely filed their 2019 federal income tax returns and are receiving refunds.

The interest payments, averaging about $18, will be made to individual taxpayers who filed a 2019 return by this year's July 15 deadline and either received a refund in the past three months or will receive a refund. Most interest payments will be issued separately from tax refunds.

In most cases, taxpayers who received their refund by direct deposit will have their interest payment direct deposited in the same account. About 12 million of these payments will be direct deposited.

Everyone else will receive a check. A notation on the check − saying "INT Amount" − will identify it as a refund interest payment and indicate the interest amount.

By law, these interest payments are taxable and taxpayers who receive them must report the interest on the 2020 federal income tax return they file next year. In January 2021, the IRS will send a Form 1099-INT to anyone who receives interest totaling at least $10.

This provision is different from the long-standing 45-day rule, generally requiring the IRS to add interest to refunds on timely-filed refund claims issued more than 45 days after the return due date.

Instead, this year's COVID-19-related July 15 due date is considered a disaster-related postponement of the filing deadline. Where a disaster-related postponement exists, the IRS is required, by law, to pay interest, calculated from the original April 15 filing deadline, as long as an individual files a 2019 federal income tax return by the postponed deadline − July 15, 2020, in this instance. This refund interest requirement only applies to individual income tax filers − businesses are not eligible.

Interest is paid at the legally prescribed rate that is adjusted quarterly. The rate for the second quarter ending June 30 was 5%, compounded daily. Effective July 1, the rate for the third quarter dropped to 3%, compounded daily.

Where the calculation period spans quarters, a blended rate applies, consisting of the number of days falling in each calendar quarter. No interest will be added to any refund issued before the original April 15 deadline.

 

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