Stimulus check: Eligibility, fine print, income limit and how the first payment might determine the next relief package

A Thursday vote to pass the new Republican-authored “skinny” coronavirus package without a direct payment failed in the Senate, leaving the question of another coronavirus economic relief package or smaller legislation that could give Americans who qualify a second stimulus check for a maximum of $1,200 per adult still up in the air.

If you’re still waiting on the first stimulus check, the IRS tracking tool could be helpful — you can also file a missing payment report if you think it was lost or missing. And if you want to know what you could potentially get if there is a second round, you can use CNET’s stimulus check calculator for an estimate.

If there is a second direct payment, we can look at how the first stimulus check was handled for an idea how a second round might work, including what to do when you don’t usually file taxes and how your dependents could mean more money for your family. For more, keep reading. This story is frequently updated with new information.

Will you be taxed on your stimulus check? What are your rights?

These rules applied to the first stimulus payments issued in March and could serve as a model for the second round of payments, if there is one.

The payment is not taxable: You won’t pay taxes next year on a stimulus payment you receive from the IRS in 2020. The IRS doesn’t consider it income and a payment you get in 2020 will not reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return next year. You also won’t have to repay anything if you qualify for a lower amount in 2021.

Overdue debts: Under some circumstances with the first stimulus payment, banks and private creditors could seize your payment for outstanding debts. The current stimulus payment proposals would in most cases prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to pay debts. Likewise, you are not required to hand the check over to facilities, like nursing homes and landlords, to cover expenses.

Overdue child support: With both the CARES Act and the proposed HEALS Act, you wouldn’t receive a check if you owed child support. Under the House of Representatives’ Heroes Act, which the Senate did not take up or veto, you would be eligible for a payment if you owed support…Read more>>