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The IRS says 9 million people are still owed stimulus checks – but you have to do this to get one

Published Sep 10th, 2020 1:18PM EDT
New stimulus check
Image: cabania/Adobe

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  • Unfortunately, Congress doesn’t look like it will be passing legislation anytime soon that allows Americans to receive a new stimulus check.
  • However, millions of Americans could be due to receive one, anyway — it’s actually the first stimulus check that they should have gotten already.
  • The IRS is encouraging people to sign up at the tax agency’s website to ensure they receive their check by the end of this year.

Congress doesn’t look like it will be passing legislation that includes funding for new stimulus checks anytime soon, despite how politically popular this would be — and in spite of how many people could benefit from this. But that’s not to say that work still isn’t being done to get stimulus checks into the hands of Americans. Far from it.

President Trump, for example, floated the idea in recent days of tapping an unused pile of money in a federal account to fund a new round of stimulus checks, though he acknowledged he needs the approval of Congress to do so. “I would be willing to release (the money), subject to Congress, and use that as stimulus money, and it would go right to the American people,” Trump said during remarks at the White House a few days ago. “So we have $300 billion sitting in an account that we didn’t need because things are going so well with the economy.” And now, meanwhile, the IRS has made an announcement about the same thing — how to get stimulus checks into the hands of people who don’t have one yet.

The IRS’ announcement is geared toward a specific group of people who may already be entitled to a stimulus check, it’s just that they haven’t taken the necessary action to receive it yet. From the tax agency’s announcement: “Later this month, the Internal Revenue Service will start mailing letters to roughly nine million Americans who typically don’t file federal income tax returns who may be eligible for, but have not registered to claim, an Economic Impact Payment.”

Recipients of the letter will need to register at by October 15 to receive their stimulus check by the end of this year. As a reminder, individuals can get a payment of up to $1,200, married couples can receive as much as $2,400, and people with qualifying children under age 17 at the end of 2019 can get up to an additional $500 for each qualifying child.

“The letters are being sent to people who haven’t filed a return for either 2018 or 2019,” the IRS explains. “Based on an internal analysis, these are people who don’t typically have a tax return filing requirement because they appear to have very low incomes, based on Forms W-2, 1099s and other third-party statements available to the IRS. But many in this group are still eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment.”

The IRS has said that, already, an estimated 160 million taxpayers have gotten a payment, which was sent out as part of the coronavirus relief package Congress passed earlier this year to offset some of the financial pain brought on by the pandemic.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.