Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Economic Impact Payments and the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program
On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) address inquiries you may have during this crisis. These FAQs are based on information available at this time and may be updated as new information becomes available. Please click on the questions below for further information.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the CARES Act?
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law. The CARES Act was developed to help to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the many provisions covered under the CARES Act, assistance with Unemployment Insurance and Economic Impact Payments may be found. The full text of the Act may be found at: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Pub. L. 116-136. Please click on the questions below for further information.
What are Economic Impact Payments?
The CARES Act authorizes economic impact payments (also referred to as “stimulus payments” or “recovery rebates”). These payments are credits against the 2020 personal income tax for eligible individuals. Eligibility for the advance payments will be based on a person’s income tax return for 2019, or 2018 if the return for 2019 has not been filed yet. These payments are not considered taxable income. For more details visit the IRS Economic Impact Payments web page.
If I qualify for an economic impact payment, how much will I receive?
Individuals whose adjusted gross income was less than $75,000 and those who filed as head of household with an adjusted gross income less than $112,500 will receive $1,200. Married couples filing jointly who make less than $150,000 will receive $2,400. The payment amount is reduced for income over these amounts. Parents also receive an additional $500 for each qualifying child. Those who file single with income exceeding $99,000, $136,500 for head of household, and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible and will not receive payments.
Can economic payments be offset for child support?
The CARES Act does not include an exemption for offset against child support debt. Noncustodial parents owing past due support of at least $150 on a public assistance case or at least $500 on a non-assistance case will be certified for offset of these payments.
What is the process for offsetting economic impact payments?
A file of cases meeting certification requirements is submitted bi-weekly to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement for the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program. This same file will also be used for the offset of the economic impact payments.
How much of my economic impact payment can be offset to satisfy my past due child support debt?
Payments may be offset up to the amount that is owed in past due child support at the time the file is sent to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. If the payment is less than the total debt owed, the full amount may be offset. If the payment is more than the total debt owed, the remaining balance will be refunded to you.
What happens to my economic impact payment once it is offset for child support?
If an economic impact payment is based on a single filer tax return, the payment should apply to your child support case(s) within 2 business days from the date it is received by the State Collections and Disbursement Unit.
If the parent who owes support files a joint tax return with a spouse, it may take up to 6 months for the payment to be applied to your child support case(s). This allows the spouse of a parent who owes support to appeal the offset as an injured spouse.
What if I am not the responsible party that owed past due child support?
If you are receiving your economic impact payment jointly with your spouse and only your spouse owes past due child support, you can file an injured spouse form with the IRS. To file your claim, please visit the IRS website.
You can also choose to waive your right to file an injured spouse claim by completing an Injured Spouse Waiver. By completing this form and sending it to the appropriate child support office, the economic impact payment can be applied to the child support case(s) without the otherwise required six-month delay. To obtain an Injured Spouse Waiver, please contact the child support office.
What if my economic impact payment should not have been intercepted?
You may dispute the offset of your economic impact payment if you do not believe that you owe past due child support.
The referral is mandatory under federal law if you owe the minimum amount of arrears. The parent responsible for support may contest the offset by submitting a verbal or written request to their child support office for the review. Contact information for your assigned office may be found on the Pre-Offset Notice that was sent to you prior to the offset.
What if I have additional questions about the economic impact payments? Am I eligible? What if I don't file a tax return? How will I get the payment?