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On Friday, President Donald Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package providing emergency assistance to the American people, businesses and health care providers amid the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The package includes a one-time direct cash payment to individuals and families across the country — up to $1,200 per individual adult, or $2,400 per married couple, and $500 per child living in the home.
The payments will be directly deposited into taxpayer checking accounts based on the most recent tax return filed.
But for some, there could be a wait. Filers who use a tax preparer, and services like having their refund loaded onto a credit card or using their refund to pay filing fees or have not had a direct deposit from the IRS into their own accounts, may wait for several weeks as paper checks are mailed.
“The direct deposit will bounce back to the IRS,” said Laurie Guard Hein, a tax preparer with H&R Block of Newton. “The government will then mail a paper check.”
It is unclear how long that process will take. Her office, she said, has taken quite a few phone calls about that issue in the past few weeks.
“We have gotten calls consistently, people are very interested in this,” Hein said.
Anyone expecting the payment, whether that be by direct deposit or paper check, should be patient as the process is worked out. According to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, anyone promising to be able to get the money to you quicker is a scam artist — and his office has already seen scams arise.
“Unfortunately, the bill’s passage has opened up a brand new opportunity for scammers to take advantage of vulnerable people during an emergency situation,” Schmidt wrote this week. “To be clear, the Internal Revenue Service will not ask you to pay anything up front to get this money. There are no fees or charges associated with receiving the payment. No one from the federal government will call, email or text message you and ask for your Social Security number, bank account information or credit card number. Anyone who does this is a scammer.”
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the direct deposits will take about three weeks to be sent out for people who have been working and paying taxes since 2018.
The Treasury Department plans to run a public awareness campaign for those who have not filed a tax return for either 2018 or 2019. Information will be posted as it becomes available online on www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
If you’ve been contacted by a scammer impersonating the federal government asking for information relating to the stimulus payment or any other COVID-19 scam, file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division online on the newly designed form specifically covering COVID-19-related scams and price gouging at www.ag.ks.gov. You can also call 800-432-2310 to request a paper complaint form be sent by mail.
More information on how to protect yourself from these and other scams is available at www.InYourCornerKansas.org.