(AmericanProsperity.com) – On Monday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) went rogue and created confusion as bureaucrats decided they were not obligated to follow the economic stimulus law recently passed by Congress. In contradiction to the law passed last week, the IRS wanted seniors to take an extra step to receive a federal check promised in the bill. It said that those who don’t file taxes will be required to file a “simple” tax return in order to obtain the direct cash payment authorized by Congress.
On March 27, President Trump signed into law the $2.2 trillion coronavirus response bill (CARES Act) to combat the devastation the COVID-19 outbreak has wreaked on the US economy. The bill provides a one-time payment of $1,200 to single Americans who make less than $75,000, $2,400 to married couples, and $500 for every dependent child. This money is to be handed out automatically in spite of what the IRS said.
The IRS Breaks With the Law
Senior citizens on Social Security who aren’t employed do not file tax returns on their Social Security income. For those retirees who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, the law says the IRS can get direct deposit information from the Social Security Administration and seniors will not have to do a thing to get the money. Yet, in an initial question-and-answer document released on the IRS’s website on Monday, it contradicted the law and said seniors will have to file a tax return if they want their check.
“People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.”
That sparked outrage among Democrat and Republican lawmakers, tax policy experts, and advocates who expressed concerns that the IRS was creating unnecessary burdens on senior citizens.
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) took to Twitter:
Despite language Congress passed in #COVIDー19 relief bill to ensure Social Security beneficiaries would NOT have to file taxes to receive direct relief, IRS issued guidance saying seniors DO have to file taxes. That’s ridiculous. IRS should follow the law that Congress passed
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 1, 2020
In many states, CPAs and tax firms have been shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, the IRS’s Taxpayer Assistance Centers are “closed until further notice.” That’s not to mention that some seniors are concerned about meeting with people, even family, since they’re more vulnerable to the potentially deadly virus.
IRS Reverses Course
Late Wednesday, the Treasury Department reversed the IRS’ position and said Social Security recipients who don’t normally file a tax return will automatically receive their checks. They will NOT have to file a tax return to get the money. The Treasury Department added that SS beneficiaries will receive payment via direct deposit or a paper check by mail as they would normally get their retirement benefits.
The IRS question-and-answer website has been updated with these changes.
For some Americans, there could still be challenges getting checks to them if they’re not in the system. Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a website would soon be created so that people can provide the IRS the information needed to get them a check as soon as possible.
~Here’s to Your Prosperity!
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