It sure looks like Uncle Sam is going to be sending you a check sometime soon. To counter the coronavirus-induced economic meltdown, President Trump and other key government officials want to flood the U.S. economy with cash and provide relief for Americans who are taking a financial hit. One way to do this, they say, is to send us all direct payments from the government's coffers. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions. At the top of the list: How much will we all get? And when will we get it?
SEE ALSO: 10 Coronavirus Stimulus Measures That Could Help You in 2020
Right now, there are three plans in play--one from the Trump administration, one from Senate Republicans, and one from Senate Democrats. Under the administration's plan, the federal government will send you a check in April for $1,000, plus $500 for every child you have. Then, if the presidentially declared national emergency is still in effect, you'll get another $1,000 check--plus another $500 for each child--in May. So, for example, a married couple with two children could receive a total of $6,000 under the Trump plan.
The administration has hinted that people at higher income levels might not get a check, or might get a smaller one. So that's something to watch out for. But, for most Americans, you'll get a nice chunk of change under the Trump proposal.
Not to be outdone, Mitch McConnell and other Republicans in the Senate recently countered with their own coronavirus payment plan. They want to send you "recovery rebate" checks, which are really just tax credits paid in advance. The amount of the check would depend on your filing status, number of children, and 2018 adjusted gross income (AGI). Single taxpayers would get a check for up to $1,200, plus $500 for each child. The amount would be gradually reduced for singles with an AGI of $75,000 or more. You wouldn't get a check if your AGI was $99,000 or more.
SEE ALSO: 10 Products in Short Supply Due to the Coronavirus
For married couples filing a joint return, the maximum amount would be $2,400, plus $500 for each child. Check amounts would start to drop for couples with an AGI of $150,000 or more, and they would disappear completely for families with an AGI of at least $198,000.
The check amount under the GOP Senators' plan generally would not exceed your net income tax liability. However, taxpayers with little or no income tax liability, but at least $2,500 of qualifying income (earned income, Social Security retirement benefits, and certain compensation and pension benefits paid to veterans), would get a minimum rebate check of $600 ($1,200 for joint filers).
Then there's the proposal from 18 Senate Democrats to send quarterly payments to Americans until the crisis ends. The initial check would for $2,000, with smaller payments over time that would be tied to specific economic triggers. For example, the second check would be for $1,500 if the public health emergency continues into July or unemployment in June is at or above a certain rate (the payment would be cut in half for a lower unemployment rate). Subsequent $1,000 payments would go out if similar economic conditions remained.
The Democrats' payments would also be phased-out for higher-income taxpayers.
Rumor has it that several other Democrats favor increased unemployment compensation and other targeted relief over widespread cash payments. That, however, doesn't mean they're opposed to sending out checks--they might just propose smaller checks.
So let the negotiations begin! We'll continue to follow developments, so check back later for more information. In the meantime, check out "10 Coronavirus Stimulus Measures That Could Help You in 2020" for more information about economic recovery initiatives coming out of Washington.
SEE ALSO: Online Grocery Shopping in the Coronavirus Era: 8 Things You Must Know
Copyright 2020 The Kiplinger Washington Editors
All contents copyright 2020 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC