STIMULUS PAYMENTS AFTER DIVORCE
On March 30, 2020, Congress approved the CARES Act, which includes a stimulus payment to individuals for $1,200.00 to $3,500.00 depending on income, filing status, and the number of children. Payment will be received based on information provided in your 2018 or 2019 tax returns. Payments are scheduled to be received as soon as this week and complete by the end of April. But what if the information that the IRS has is from your jointly filed tax returns? Who will receive your payment? Who will receive the payment for your child? These are all questions that are being raised during this unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis.
HOW IS THE AMOUNT DETERMINED?
The IRS will rely on your most recent filed tax returns (2019 or 2018). If you were married filing jointly in your most recent tax returns, then the IRS will presume you are still married and will determine your payment accordingly. If you filed your taxes jointly in 2018 and have since separated but not filed your taxes for 2019, it is in your best interest to file your 2019 taxes as quickly as possible to notify the IRS of your current information. It is your responsibility to inform the IRS that there is a change in your tax filing status. You can obtain the forms to notify the IRS here.
HOW WILL I GET MY STIMULUS PAYMENT?
If you received your 2018 or 2019 tax refunds, or current federal benefits, by direct deposit, you would receive your payment directly into your bank account and likely sooner than others. If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, you can expect to receive a paper check in the mail. If you are not required to file your tax returns, Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.
WHAT HAPPENS IF WE FILE JOINTLY AND ARE NOW SEPARATED?
However, if you filed your taxes jointly and are now separate, you may receive your ex-spouse’s stimulus payment – or your stimulus payment may get deposited into your ex-spouse’s account. If this happens, you will have to cooperate and divide the funds. If you receive the payment, do what is right, and share the funds how they would have been distributed had both parties filed separately. If your ex-spouse gets the funds and refuses to divide the payment, you will have to obtain a court order to divide the payment.
WHO GETS THE PAYMENT FOR MY CHILDREN?
The IRS is providing an additional $500 payment for each qualifying child who is 16 or younger. Since the information for stimulus payments is based upon tax filings, whoever claimed the child on the most recent tax return will likely receive the additional amount.
IRS AND “GET MY PAYMENT” INFORMATION?
You can check the IRS Economic Impact Payment page for eligibility and additional details. The IRS site is also launching a “Get My Payment” tool, which is scheduled to become available this week and allow people to check the status of their money and update direct deposit information.
If you need to discuss this issue, please contact our certified family law specialists and dedicated family law attorneys.