Here's What You Need to Know: The IRS is fighting a lawsuit over stimulus checks.
Several married couples sued the IRS last year, claiming that they lost out on stimulus checks from the 2020 CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act), due to their immigration status.
According to Law 360, the IRS argued in court last week that the suits’ final remaining plaintiff is making “flawed arguments.” The government is arguing that the plaintiff’s ineligibility does not infringe on her conditional rights.
"Here, the combined effect of the provisions of [Section 6428 of the tax code] does not substantially burden Rueda's ability to enter into marriage or significantly impact the decisions, benefits, and obligations of marriage,” the IRS said in the filing, per Law 360. "Rueda plainly is not placed into 'an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage' simply on account of her ineligibility for part of a tax credit.”
"She is mistaken when she argues that equitable relief would not restrain the assessment or collection of her taxes since Rueda seeks a finding that the Constitution requires the IRS issue to her an additional $500 tax refund," the government brief continued.
The plaintiff, Juana Rueda, who lives in Ohio, was the final remaining holdout from the class action suit, in which more than a dozen other plaintiffs dropped their claims following amendments to the CARES Act.
Rueda’s husband, per the report, uses an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which made the couple ineligible for an advance refund of money from the CARES Act. That piece of legislation, passed in the early days of the pandemic, required married couples to both have Social Security numbers — unless they are members of the military — if they wished to receive CARES Act funds.
The suit, filed against the government by several couples affected, was brought shortly after the act passed, in April of 2020. In December, then-President Trump signed an amendment to the CARES Act, which dropped the Social Security numbers requirement. As a result, most of the defendants dropped their claims. However, Rueda went forward with the suit, arguing that her family had suffered hardship as a result of the original legislation that wasn’t alleviated by the fix passed later that year.
"The original CARES Act denied a tax credit to plaintiff Rueda and similarly situated individuals based on requirements this court found plaintiff Rueda plausibly alleged violated the Constitution's equal protection guarantees, the fundamental right of marriage, and the freedom to intimate association," she said in a filing earlier this year, per Law 360.
The case is titled Juana Rueda et al. v. Janet Yellen et al.; Janet Yellen is the current Secretary of the Treasury. The case is being argued in federal court in Maryland.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
This article first appeared earlier this month.