IRS reversal: Social Security recipients can automatically get stimulus checks without filing returns

The IRS has reversed course to eliminate a controversial requirement on Social Security recipients seeking stimulus checks as part of the government’s coronavirus response package. After initially saying that Social Security recipients would have to file a “simple” tax return for 2019 — which they ordinarily would not do — the IRS now says the payment will be automatic without it. “Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return … will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced Wednesday evening, noting that they will not have to take any action. The change follows pressure from lawmakers who urged the IRS to drop the condition. “This filing requirement would place a significant burden on retired seniors and individuals who experience disabilities, especially given the current unavailability of tax filing assistance from Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs during the COVID-19 crisis,” said a letter from more than three-dozen Democratic senators. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., also pushed for the change. “My colleagues and I strongly urge Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Social Security Administrator [Andrew] Saul to find a solution that will allow vulnerable groups to receive these funds automatically, without needing to file an additional return,” Neal said in a statement. The $2.2. trillion coronavirus response bill signed by President Trump last week sets aside recovery funds for workers and businesses squeezed by unprecedented restrictions to combat the virus. The bill will provide one-time payments of up to $1,200 to adults and $500 per child. The Treasury Department now says that Social Security recipients will have their information taken from SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 forms, which was outlined in the CARES Act that provided for the stimulus payments.

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