Will your spouse or your child’s other parent end up getting your stimulus check if you are entitled to one?
Here is how the system is supposed to work:
- Qualifying single adults who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will receive $1,200.
- Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total payment of $2,400.
- Taxpayers filing as head of household will receive full payment if they earn $112,500 or less.
If your income is higher than the thresholds listed, then your payment will be reduced $5 for each $100 over the threshold.
It stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or more, or married couples without children who earn $198,000 or more. You will not receive payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult.
QUESTION: I was married when we filed our last tax return, but now we are separated. What will I get?
ANSWER: If you did not file your 2019 tax return, the government will pay the stimulus based on your 2018 tax return.
SUGGESTION: If you filed “jointly” with your spouse for the 2018 tax year, but have separated from your spouse since filing, then it is best to file your 2019 taxes as soon as possible. You will need to notify the IRS of your updated status of “separated” or “single.”
QUESTION: What about the payments we get based on having children?
ANSWER: For each qualifying child age 16 or under, there will be an additional payment of $500. The stimulus payments are based upon your most recent tax filing. This means that if you claimed your children on your taxes in 2019, then you are likely to receive the $500 benefit for each child that you claimed as a dependent. That’s right. You need to be the person who claims the children as a dependent to get a stimulus check for them.
QUESTION: If I owe child support, will I get my stimulus check?
ANSWER: No, with a very big IF. The Coronavirus Stimulus Bill includes a provision that if you owe back child support, then your check may be intercepted by the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the funds will be given to the child’s custodial parent. That, of course, depends on whether Treasury properly intercepts the check. It is not a perfect science.
QUESTION: How do I get the money that is mine if it mistakenly goes to the other parent?
ANSWER: If you believe that your spouse has inappropriately withheld your portion of the stimulus funds, then you may need to seek a court order and request an appropriate division of the funds. Try to work it out with the other parent first. Then have an attorney write them a letter, warning them it could result in a court filing and also having to pay attorneys’ fees. If none of that works, consult with an experienced family law attorney to file the appropriate action.
Questions? SIEGELLAW can help you. Call (410) 792-2300 or fill out the form on this page to request additional information.