ORLANDO, Fla. — The IRS is now beginning to send checks to Americans amid the COVID-19 crisis, as part of a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, and with this federal stimulus package comes many questions.
- IRS beginning to send payments from federal stimulus package
- Make under $75,000? You should receive $1,200; scaled down from there
- Tax Foundation FAQ: Federal Coronavirus Relief Bill (CARES Act)
- RELATED STORIES:
It's some relief, as the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Spectrum News viewers have been reaching out about how much money they'll receive, when, and if they'll have to pay it back in next year's taxes.
Nadeem Bokhari lives in Kissimmee and works for a quick service restaurant with a drive-thru option. He's grateful to still be working, when many of his friends also in the restaurant industry are not.
When Bokhari recently checked social media posts about the stimulus package, he was concerned Americans might have to pay that money back in next year's taxes.
"That is the impression the government gave us, that is yours to keep and no strings attached," Bokhari said.
We took some of those questions to State Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, who has also been answering questions for her constituents, even though she was not involved in the stimulus package vote at the national level.
"There are a lot of rumors out there that the stimulus check coming from the federal government, is some sort of taxable income that you're going to pay for it late — none of that is true," Eskamani said.
Eskamani of Orlando said your check is based on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, whichever is more recent.
If you make under $75,000 you should receive $1,200, and it's scaled down from there.
"The direct deposit or check coming from the federal government is not taxable. It's actually a temporary tax credit that Americans are getting, which means you will not have to pay it back, it does not impact your refund," Rep. Eskamani said.
She said this federal relief is not enough for many Floridians, and the state's struggle to provide unemployment benefits is not helping.
"For many Floridians, that does not even cover the cost of rent. The harsh reality is that Florida's unemployment program has failed miserably to get folks the relief they need and deserve, and if it was fully operational and implementing the CARES Act, then those Floridians who have already applied for unemployment insurance, should have already received $1,200 today from that system," Eskamani said.
She said there's more work to do locally to ensure everyone who applies and is eligible for unemployment during this difficult time, gets it.
If you're hoping for the federal stimulus check and the IRS doesn't have your information, you can submit it on its new online portal.