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October 01, 2020 | October 07, 2020 | 4,841 total views

Almost 12 million Americans who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic may miss out on receiving their federal Economic Impact Payment (EIP), or stimulus check, because they have not filed their taxes for 2019 or are considered non-filers. In California alone, outstanding payments amount to roughly $1 billion for over one million adults and children. The non-filer population includes people experiencing homelessness, very low-income families with children, people who have been disconnected from work opportunities for a long period of time, and low-income adults without children. The stimulus checks are critical in reducing hardships for those who need it most and for giving our local economies a much-needed boost. The deadline to claim a stimulus check is October 15, 2020.

Individuals and service providers can use the following resources to help themselves or their clients, whether tax-filers or not, access the money that they may be entitled to:

  • People who aren’t required to file taxes and who earned less than $12,200 ($24,400 if married) in 2019 can go to www.irs.gov/eip to complete an online form so the IRS knows where to send their payment.
    • United Way’s 211 EIP Helpline, 1-844-322-3639, provides live assistance to help people complete the IRS non-filer form and answer questions about eligibility.
    • Providers can also access this fact sheet from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, or this toolkit from HUD, for more information about assisting people experiencing homelessness with their stimulus checks.
  • Anyone who earned more than $12,200 ($24,400 if married) or more than $400 in self-employment income in 2019 is required to file taxes and needs to do so to get their payment. There are three ways people can file taxes for free:
  1. Online – People can file their own federal and state taxes at MyFreeTaxes.com or IRS.gov/FreeFile.
  2. Remote filing – IRS-certified volunteer tax preparers can file tax returns virtually for people at GetYourRefund.org.
  3. Local tax assistance – Find your local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site here and call to learn of the services offered.
  • Individuals can also use the IRS Get My Payment tool to check the status of their payment.

Please watch out for scams – the IRS refers to this money as an “Economic Impact Payment” and will not contact people by phone, email, text message, or social media to request personal information or require a “processing” fee. The IRS will send written correspondence.