What does AARP’s Coronavirus Stimulus Payment Calculator do?
The CARES Act that was enacted in March calls for direct stimulus payments to most Americans to help offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Our calculator provides an estimate of the amount you might receive as a stimulus payment, based on the information you enter. This is only an estimate; the actual amount you receive, if any, will be determined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the government agency in charge of disbursing the stimulus payments.
How much is the stimulus payment?
Eligible individuals can receive a stimulus payment of up to $1,200. Couples who file joint tax returns can receive up to $2,400. Families with children under the age of 17 can receive an additional $500 per child. Dependents are not eligible for direct stimulus payments.
Will anyone receive a stimulus payment without filing a tax return for 2018 or 2019?
Yes. The IRS has announced that Social Security beneficiaries and railroad retirees who are not typically required to file a tax return will automatically receive a $1,200 stimulus payment. The IRS will use information contained in annual SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 tax forms to generate the stimulus payments automatically. Recipients of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) also receive SSA-1099 tax forms and will receive $1,200 stimulus payments automatically. In addition, the IRS says Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries and recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will receive automatic $1,200 payments.
The IRS has a web tool for others who are not typically required to file a tax return based on their income levels to enter personal information and register for a stimulus payment.
When do the payments go out?
The IRS started distributing stimulus payments in mid-April. More than 150 million payments are expected to be made in all.
What information do I need to use the stimulus payment calculator?
The calculator asks about four things: the last year you filed a federal tax return; your tax filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widow or widower); your adjusted gross income (AGI) from your latest tax return, either 2018 or 2019; and the number of children under age 17 you claimed as dependents.
Is there an income limit to receive a stimulus payment?
Yes. For those who filed federal tax returns for 2018 or 2019, the IRS will use the AGI listed on the most recent return to determine the amount of the stimulus payment. An individual with an AGI of up to $75,000 would receive the full $1,200 payment; a couple filing jointly with an AGI of up to $150,000 would receive the full $2,400 payment. A head-of-household filer with an AGI of up to $112,500 would receive the full $1,200 payment.
The amount of the stimulus payment is gradually reduced once AGI exceeds these limits. An individual (either single filer or married filing separately) with an AGI above $99,000 would not receive a stimulus payment. A couple filing jointly would not receive a stimulus payment once AGI tops $198,000. A head of household filer with an AGI above $136,500 would not receive a stimulus payment.
How does the stimulus payment calculator estimate reduced payments?
Once the AGI for a filer hits the income limit for the full stimulus payment, the amount of the payment is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the threshold. The payment amount phases out completely once a filer’s AGI exceeds the maximum AGI for the filing status. Our calculator uses the rate of reduction provided by the IRS ($5 for each $100 above the threshold) to calculate your estimated stimulus payment based on the information you provide.
Can I use the calculator if I haven’t filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019?
Yes. Even if you haven’t filed a tax return for the last two years, you are welcome to estimate your AGI and enter the amount into the calculator to receive a ballpark estimate of your possible stimulus payment. Adjusted gross income, as the name implies, is your gross income (wages, dividends, retirement distributions and other income) minus certain adjustments such as educator expenses, student loan interest, alimony payments and qualifying contributions to retirement accounts. (Here’s the IRS definition of AGI.)
If you are not required to file a federal tax return due to your income level, you can select the calculator’s “Haven’t filed in the last two years” option to receive information about possible stimulus payments to those who haven’t filed tax returns for 2018 or 2019.
Can I call the IRS to get more information about stimulus payments?
Yes, the IRS toll-free phone number is 800-919-9835.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect new information.