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Third stimulus check payments

What do I need to know about the third round of economic impact payments?

As you’ve likely heard, Congress passed another round of stimulus payments as part of a $1.9 trillion bill called the American Rescue Plan on March 10, 2021 and the IRS will begin to distribute payments in the next few weeks. If you believe you’ll be eligible for this third stimulus payment and want to receive it as quickly as possible, make sure the IRS has your direct deposit information on file by electing to receive your 2020 tax refund electronically.

This initiative will provide one-time, non-taxable payments to a majority of Americans -- up to $1,400 for individuals, $2,800 for married couples and up to $1,400 for each qualifying child. The third stimulus check would also extend qualifications to dependents of any age. That includes college students, older adult relatives and dependents of all ages with disabilities (not just those under 17 years old.) "Mixed-status households” who were left out of the first two rounds of payments are now also eligible, as well as non-US citizens who live and work in America, US citizens who live abroad and residents of US territories.

The IRS uses your 2019 or 2020 tax return to determine your eligibility for a payment. Because the income threshold is slightly lower than the first two rounds, not as many will qualify for a payment this time. Some Americans earning more than $75,000 will also receive a lesser amount of money if they meet certain qualifications.

If you have already received a payment from the first two rounds of stimulus checks, then the IRS will deliver this third payment in the same way. Most Americans will receive the payment via direct deposit, but the IRS will send you a paper check if it does not have your bank details on file or if you closed the account the IRS has on file. Direct deposits are expected to arrive shortly after the bill is approved, with paper checks to follow.

The relief package will also extend federal unemployment compensation benefits through Sept. 6, 2021, providing an additional $300 per week supplement to state unemployment compensation.

Here is a brief summary of this round of support:
What this means for individuals: How Commerce can help:
One-time Economic Impact Payment check:

  • $1,400 per individual, $2,800 for joint filers and $1,400 per child. Adult dependents (ages 18-26) who can be claimed on someone else’s tax return will qualify for a payment in this round.
  • All “mixed-status households” with one or more family members who aren’t US citizens will be eligible for payment in this round.
  • The full EIP amount is available for those with adjusted gross incomes at or below $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household and $150,000 for married couples.
  • Reduced checks on a sliding scale are available for individuals making up to $80,000 a year, heads of household earning up to $120,500 annually, and married couples who earn up to $160,000.
  • Payments are based on either 2019 or 2020 income, depending on when a taxpayer files their 2020 tax return.
Extended Unemployment Assistance:

  • $300 weekly jobless benefit supplementing state unemployment benefits
  • Duration extended through Sept. 6, 2021
  • The first $10,200 in unemployment insurance received in 2020 will be non-taxable for households with income under $150,000.
  • Contact your state unemployment office directly.
  • More information should be posted on the U.S. Department of Labor website.
  • If you are a Commerce Bank customer facing financial hardship due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please call us at 833-518-3458 to discuss your current accounts. You may experience an extended wait time due to high call volume. Your patience is appreciated.
Child Tax Credit:

  • Most eligible Americans would receive $3,000 a year for each child ages 6 to 17, and $3,600 for each child under 6.
  • This expands the existing child tax credit of $2,000 per year for children from birth through age 16.
  • Periodic payments of up to $300 per child per month will be sent via direct deposit from July through December 2021.
  • The amount will be gradually reduced for couples earning over $150,000 and individuals earning over $75,000 per year.
  • Direct deposit to your Commerce Bank account (if you have established this for direct deposit of tax refunds or Social Security benefits.)
 
Student Loans

  • The version of the bill passed by the Congress on March 10 includes a provision to make any student loan forgiveness passed between Dec. 31, 2020 and Jan. 1, 2026 tax-free. Usually, forgiven debt is treated as taxable income.
  • If you have questions or are curious about your options, set up a consultation with a Commerce lending specialist.
Most people will not need to take any action to receive their payment. If you filed your 2019 or 2020 tax return and linked an account for your tax refund, the IRS will calculate and automatically direct deposit your payment into the account you provided on your tax return. If you receive Social Security benefits, via direct deposit, your payment will automatically go to that associated account, even if you didn’t file a tax return.

If your adjusted gross income for 2020 is higher than in 2019, the amount you can claim may go down or disappear altogether. But if it’s lower, you should file your tax return as soon as you can to show you are eligible for this next round of payments. If you aren’t sure what your adjusted gross income is, look on line 8b on your 2019 federal tax return (or line 11 on form 1040 and 1040-SR if you’ve already filed your 2020 taxes.)

If you qualify for the full amount based on your 2020 taxes, but your check was lower because the IRS based it on your 2019 taxes, you’ll have to claim the difference when you file in 2022. And, if you expected a stimulus payment from the first two rounds that you didn’t receive, or the amount was less than you expected, you can use your 2020 tax return to obtain eligible funds depending on eligibility.

If the IRS does not have your current direct deposit information, a check will be mailed to the address they have on file. You can deposit this into your account quickly and easily using our mobile app or ATM.

Be on the lookout for phishing scams tied to economic impact payments. Criminals are constantly changing their tactics, so you should protect yourself by acting as your own first line of defense.

Some recent scams include:

  • Text messages asking you to disclose your bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,400 Economic Impact Payments.
  • Phishing schemes using email, letters and social media messages with key words such as "Coronavirus," "COVID-19," and "stimulus" in varying ways. These communications are blasted to large numbers of people and aim to access personally identifying information and financial account information (including account numbers and passwords).
  • Asking you to sign over your economic impact payment check to them.
  • Suggesting that they can get you a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on your behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person.
  • Bogus checks, perhaps in an odd amount, that ask you to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it.
  • Fake donation requests for individuals, groups and areas heavily affected by the disease.
The best way to avoid falling victim to a scam is knowing how the IRS communicates with taxpayers. The IRS does not send unsolicited texts or emails or message you on social media. The IRS does not call people with threats of jail or lawsuits, nor does it demand tax payments on gift cards or email you to verify your bank account information so you can get your refund faster. Do not open any suspicious texts or emails, or click any attachments or links, and do not provide any of your direct deposit or banking information if asked. Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Based on our experience with the first and second round of Economic Impacts Payments, we believe payments by both ACH and check will be staggered by several days or weeks. Commerce Bank has no insight or information as to when any specific consumer will receive his or her payment. Likewise, we do not have any information about how much your payment will be, as each payment is dependent upon many factors, including number of dependents in your household and adjusted gross income.

We kindly ask you to refrain from contacting us to ask when your payment will arrive and how much it may be. We will only know these details once the payment has arrived, at which point the information is available to you through Online Banking and our mobile app.

For the latest information on economic impact payments, including how to check your payment status, visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.

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