Videos and online publications claiming that millions of Americans will have to pay the relief checks they receive from the federal government under the $ 2.2 trillion coronavirus economic recovery law are not true.
The government began issuing one-time payments this week. Most adults who made up to $ 75,000 will see a payment of $ 1,200, while married couples who made up to $ 150,000 can expect to get $ 2,400. Parents will receive payments of $ 500 per child. Checks will either be deposited directly into bank accounts or mailed to households, depending on how you have filed your tax returns in the past.
In recent days, social media posts have falsely claimed that there is a catch to this money – that you will eventually have to pay it back.
“Next year, you will automatically owe $ 1,200 when the tax season comes,” falsely claims one of the videos, viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube. The video has also been widely shared on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
The United States Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service, which are working to deliver the money to people, confirmed to The Associated Press that households will not have to return the money at next year’s tax filing.
“This is not an advance and there is absolutely no obligation to return it,” Treasury spokeswoman Patricia McLaughlin said in an email.
The federal government uses information from the 2018 or 2019 tax returns – the most recently filed – to determine eligibility for payments. Those payments begin to decrease for adults earning more than $ 75,000 and are eliminated entirely for those earning more than $ 99,000. For married couples, payments are reduced for those who earn more than $ 150,000, dropping to zero at $ 198,000. For heads of households with one child, the benefit begins to decrease to $ 112,500 and drops to zero at $ 136,500.
The confusion on social media appears to have stemmed from the language in the economic bailout law that refers to checks as an “early refund” because the money is released in fiscal year 2020, even before Americans have filed their returns. tax for the year.
The 2020 tax form has not yet been printed, but the relief checks will have no bearing on your income deductions next year, said Eric Smith, IRS spokesman.