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Millions of people who were eligible for $1,200 incentive checks may still not have received their money.
Now the Government Accountability Office and some Democratic members of Congress are calling on the IRS and the Treasury Department to step up their efforts to get aid to those Americans.
“An [economic impact payment] $1,200, $2,400 or more could be a lifeline for a family in serious financial trouble, especially at this time of year,” a group of House Democrats wrote in a letter sent to the IRS on Thursday.
The economic impact payments, also known as stimulus checks, were passed by Congress this spring with the CARES bill to help Americans cope with the Covid pandemic.
The payments include up to $1,200 per person or $2,400 per married couple, plus $500 per child under 17. In order to qualify for full payments, individuals and families had to stay below certain income thresholds. Overall, that was $75,000 and less in adjusted gross income for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly. The amount of benefits was gradually phased out for those with incomes above those levels.
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The IRS and the Treasury Department made more than 165.8 million payments as of Sept. 30 for a total of $274.7 billion.
But because those payments were generally sent based on past tax returns, low-income individuals and families who don’t need to register may be left out.
In September, nearly 9 million people received a mail from the IRS letting them know they may be eligible for the one-time payment. Those people had until Nov. 21 to submit their information to the IRS non-filer online tool.
A recent GAO report noted that the Treasury Department and the IRS have no plans to analyze the effectiveness of that range until 2021.
The delayed analysis means the agencies will miss the opportunity to redirect their efforts if necessary, the GAO report said.
“GAO recommends that Treasury, in conjunction with IRS, begin tracking and publicly reporting the number of individuals who have received an email. [economic impact payment] notification letter and submitted to and received from a [economic impact payment], and use that information to inform ongoing outreach and communication efforts,” the report said.
The Treasury Department, the report said, agrees with that recommendation.
Meanwhile, in their Dec. 3 letter, Congressional Democrats urged the IRS to resolve their voters’ questions about missing stimulus controls by Dec. 31.
Congressional bureaus currently have the ability to send questions about voter stimulus checks to a special IRS mailbox, which has received a huge amount of questions, House lawmakers said.
However, the mailbox stopped taking new inquiries from Nov. 30, while the IRS plans to stop working on existing cases effective Dec. 10. Those who are still waiting for their payments can get a recovery discount credit when they apply. Tax returns 2020 in the spring.
But Democratic lawmakers argue this isn’t fast enough for voters who have escalated their cases to the agency.
“We urge the IRS to [economic impact payment] mailbox will remain open until the end of the 2021 filing season,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.
“Not only will this allow the IRS to continue answering existing voter questions and make payments through December 31, 2020, but will also allow the IRS to help additional voters who are having trouble claiming a chargeback credit on their behalf. tax return for 2020,” they said.
The letter was signed by 23 House Democrats, led by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Bill Pascrell, Jr., DN.J., chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight.