Not Filing Tax Returns Is No Reason to Miss Out on this Stimulus Payment

July 5, 2021 Topic: economy Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Reboot Tags: Stimulus ChecksIRSTaxesPandemicCoronavirus

Not Filing Tax Returns Is No Reason to Miss Out on this Stimulus Payment

One of the IRS’s stated priorities has been to ensure that government assistance programs, including stimulus checks and the newly increased Child Tax Credit, are made available to all Americans who qualify for them.

Here's What You Need to Remember: The agency announced Wednesday that it has partnered with civil society organizations, including churches, community organizations, and nonprofits to assist people with filing their taxes in twelve major cities. The assistance programs will be conducted over two weekends, from June 25–26 and again from July 9–10.

The years 2020 and 2021 have been unusual years for the Internal Revenue Service. During the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans lost their jobs, thousands of businesses were closed. The IRS, like all government agencies, was forced into remote work, complicating its ability to process tax returns submitted in the spring and summer of 2020. In addition to its normal duties, the agency was also tasked early on with sending hundreds of millions of stimulus checks out to American families—a task it largely succeeded at, albeit with some minor missteps. 

One of the IRS’s stated priorities has been to ensure that government assistance programs, including stimulus checks and the newly increased Child Tax Credit, are made available to all Americans who qualify for them. A primary issue of concern has been “non-filers,” Americans who, usually because they do not make enough income to be taxed on it, do not file their tax returns. Due to the fact that these Americans’ stimulus and Child Tax Credit payments are tied to tax returns —which are used to determine who is eligible based on income, as well as to determine what address to send the payments to—non-filers are often difficult for the IRS to send payments to. This is an especially significant problem because non-filers, by virtue of their lack of income, are in the most urgent need of assistance. 

To reach non-filers, the IRS has launched a number of programs. The agency’s website has an online portal assisting non-filing Americans to claim the Child Tax Credit, as well as the $1,400 (or possibly the earlier $1,200 or $600) stimulus checks. The credit’s advance payments will begin on July 15, imparting a sense of urgency to the IRS’s outreach. 

In addition to this, the agency announced Wednesday that it has partnered with civil society organizations, including churches, community organizations, and nonprofits to assist people with filing their taxes in twelve major cities. The assistance programs will be conducted over two weekends, from June 25–26 and again from July 9–10. The IRS has advertised the events on its website, and provided guidelines for what attendees should bring to each session—encouraging attendees to bring their Social Security information for themselves and their children, mailing and email addresses, and, if signing up for direct deposit, bank account information.

The events will be held in Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Miami, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Phoenix, and Washington, DC. 

Trevor Filseth is a current and foreign affairs writer for the National Interest. This article first appeared earlier this year.

Image: Reuters.