IRS says new round of COVID relief payments on way

WASHINGTON (AP) – Along with daylight saving time, this weekend could bring Americans fatter bank balances.

Officials at the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said yesterday that processing of the new round of stimulus payments has already begun, with the aim of having the first payments start showing up in bank accounts this weekend.

President Joe Biden signed the new USD1.9 trillion rescue package on Thursday, the day after it won final passage in the House. The measure provides for payments to qualifying individuals of up to USD1,400, with payments to a qualifying family of four of USD5,600.

“The payments will be delivered automatically to taxpayers even as the IRS continues delivering regular tax refunds,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.

It is estimated that 85 per cent of Americans will be eligible for the payments and the goal is to have millions of the payments disbursed in the next few weeks.

A file photo show then President Donald J Trump’s name printed on a stimulus cheque issued by the IRS to help combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak in San Antonio. PHOTO: AP

The relief measure, which passed on party-line votes in both the House and Senate, contains the third round of economic-impact payments. The first round passed last spring provided up to USD2,000 per individual, and a second round of payments in December provided up to USD600 per individual.

The latest package passed with no votes from Republicans, who objected to the size of the measure and argued it was not necessary given signs that the economy is beginning to recover.

Then-President Donald Trump called the payments in the USD900 billion relief bill passed in December too small and Biden agreed, pushing the total for an individual up to USD1,400 in the new package.

The latest round of relief payments will provide households with USD1,400 for each adult, child and adult dependent, such as college students or elderly relatives. Adult dependents were not eligible to receive payments in the previous two rounds of payments.

The payments start declining for an individual once adjusted gross income exceeds USD75,000 and go to zero once income hits USD80,000. The payment starts declining for married couples when income exceeds USD150,000 and goes to zero at USD160,000.