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When Will Puerto Rico, Other U.S. Territories Get Stimulus Payments?

Local tax authorities, not the IRS, will send funds

Barricades blocking a street in San Juan Puerto Rico during coronavirus shutdown
RICARDO ARDUENGO / Getty Images

People who live in U.S. Territories — American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands — will start getting their stimulus payments in early June, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The 4 million inhabitants of the U.S. territories must meet the same qualifications as those living in the 50 states. But there's a twist: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which has spearheaded distribution of more than 140 million stimulus payments to individuals since March 27, when the CARES Act was enacted, won't be distributing the payments to the five territories.

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Instead, local tax authorities will issue the payments, based on information provided by the IRS. Contact your local tax authority for more information if you live in American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The distribution of stimulus payments has not been without hiccups. AARP has urged the U.S. Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, to ensure that all eligible Social Security beneficiaries in U.S. territories receive payments. There's particular concern that those beneficiaries who are not required to file taxes might be overlooked by local tax authorities.

"AARP believes Social Security beneficiaries in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, like all other Americans, should receive their payments automatically and not be unduly burdened by having to file additional paperwork,” AARP's Bill Sweeney, senior vice president of government affairs, wrote to Treasury officials on May 7.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, those who are eligible for a stimulus check and didn't file a 2019 or 2018 tax return (or collect Social Security benefits) need to file a 2018 income tax form, include any income received and write “FOR STIMULUS CHECK” on the return. You must also sign the return and verify the spelling of your name and your current address. If you had no income, put $1 on line 2b of the 2018 return. You can also claim $500 for each dependent child under age 17. Include the qualifying child's name, Social Security number and relationship to you when filing the return. Send it to 6115 Estate Smith Bay, Suite 225, St. Thomas, VI 00803.

American Samoa's IRS review for its plan was scheduled for May 7, but no further information has been posted online.

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Instructions for those in Puerto Rico who didn't file a 2019 or 2018 income tax form haven't been posted on the government website yet.

Residents of Guam must file a 2019 or 2018 tax return or an Economic Impact Payment — Non-Filer Form (EIP-NF) to get their stimulus payment.

And in the Northern Mariana Islands, the territory's online stimulus registration portal was briefly overwhelmed by applications, but has resumed operations.

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AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

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