The Senate passed a $2 Trillion Aid package on Friday, March 27 called the CARES Act.

Just so you know 2 trillion seconds is 63,420 years. And 2 trillion inches is 31,565,657 miles. Blamo.

Here’s some details:

Individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect $1,200.

Married couples earning less than $150,000 combined can expect $2,400.

+ $500 per child under 16 years old.

The cash amount phases down with higher income. You can use this calculator to figure out the specific amount you’ll receive.

No application. The cash payments are based on your 2019 return income

If you didn’t file a 2019 return (deadline is extended to 7/15/2020) they will use your 2018 information. If you didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 return, or your dependent or marital status changed, file a 2019 return asap! Otherwise take a chill pill and don’t bug your accountant to hurry and file your return. They’re freaking out too. Also if you miss it now, or the wrong amounts were issued (like you had a kid and they didn’t know it yet), you can resolve it on your 2020 return (see below).

People who receive Social Security benefits but don’t file tax returns are still eligible and will be based on the information provided by the Social Security Administration.

They will send it direct deposit (in 3-4 weeks?) if they have that information from your 2018 or 2019 refund. But I don’t see where you can update your bank information online if you’ve changed your bank account since you last filed for a refund. I will be checking for updates to that question or email me/direct message me in instagram (link above) if you find an answer!

They will send it by mail (3-4 months?) if they don’t have your direct deposit information. If they don’t have your bank account information and if your address has changed since you filed your last return, you can change your address using this form or these other methods.

Non-citizens with a valid Social Security number who live and work in the United States will be eligible for stimulus checks. That includes green card holders and most people on work visas such as H-1B and H-2A. However, of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US, 8 million reportedly work and pay taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The ITIN was set up exclusively for people that do not have or are ineligible for a Social Security number, enabling them to pay tax. Having an ITIN and paying taxes does not make you eligible for this stimulus check. The National Immigration Law Center called the decision to pass a bill that cut off so many in the country from financial aid during a public health crisis as “disgraceful,” noting that many immigrants will end up playing “an essential role in our recovery as a nation.” Casa San Jose is a wonderful resource in Pittsburgh I urge anyone in this situation to reach to for support or to support if you are able.

The payment is intended to be an advance payment against an actual credit you will compute on your 2020 tax return. If your advance payment is LESS than what you’re owed when you compute your 2020 return, you’ll get the excess as a credit on that return. So if you haven’t filed a 2018 or 2019 return you should get your cash payment then. But if your advance credit is GREATER than what you’re actually owed come the filing of your 2020 return, there appears to be no mechanism to either 1) repay the excess payment, or 2) recognize the excess amount as income. Lovely actually! But we’ll stay tuned.

SmartAsset describes the stimulus program, and how it applies to this question, as follows:

You can think of these payments as advanced 2020 tax credits. If you receive a payment based on your income in 2018 or 2019, but you qualify for a larger credit amount based on your 2020 income, you’d get the remainder of the credit when you file your 2020 taxes. That would be in 2021. You won’t have to pay money back if your 2020 income increased from your income in 2018 or 2019.

Here’s another article with some more specifics.


  1. Hi Katie,

    My friend Cassie recommended me to you. I, like so many others am self employed and kind of scrambling right now. I am a freelance photographer and have scheduled e-commerce shoot income monthly I depend on. I also run a photo lab. Currently I’m not able to work and in a few months I’m not sure what will happen.
    A few weeks ago I filed for unemployment, but have not heard back. If you have any advice or recommendations I would love to hear back if you have the time. Currently going to scour your blog because it seems like a vat of helpful information.
    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, I’ve heard only the best about you from friends. Hopefully next year I can switch to you for taxes.



    1. Hey Kate!
      Are you in PA? They still haven’t released the form to file your initial claim for self-employed unemployment. Hopefully really soon. Check out my insta for updates on the unemployment stuff. I’m also posting other resources folks have found helpful for assistance in the WTF do I do category. Thank you so much for your interest but I’m not taking on any tax work, just consulting at this time. I have some folks to recommend. Also seeing if there is any interest in a DIY taxes but I review or answer questions via zoom?


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