If you have a Social Security number and no one can claim you as a dependent, you likely qualify for a $ 1,400 stimulus check – even if you’re making so little money you don’t have to file a tax return. You will also likely get $ 1,800 from the first two rounds as a refund discount.
For people receiving certain benefits like Social Security or SSI, the process is easy. The IRS uses the information from your declaration of performance to determine your eligibility and automatically send the payment to you.
But what if you don’t get any benefits? The only way to get your payment is to file a 2020 tax return, even if it isn’t required.
Fortunately, filing a tax return is pretty easy. Find out how to do it.
How to file a simple tax return in 5 steps
You can easily file a tax return in minutes that will provide the IRS with the information they need to receive your payment.
“All you have to do is provide some basic information and you know it,” said Logan Allec, CPA and owner of personal finance website Money Done Right. “Your name, the names of your loved ones, your address, your social security number.”
The only piece of information you may not be sure of: the social security numbers of your loved ones.
As long as you have all of this information, you’re good to go. Here is what to do.
1. Find your bank account and routing codes
Technically, you don’t need to provide bank account details to fill out a simple tax return. But your stimulus check will get to you much faster if you sign up for a direct deposit instead of waiting for the IRS to send you a paper check.
You should be able to access this information by logging into your bank account online. If you have a check book, you can find your nine-digit bank routing number on the bottom left of the check. Your bank account number is to the right of the bank code. Your account number should also be listed on your bank statements. However, you may need to call customer service to get your routing number.
A simple hack to find your routing number: Google your bank name and the words “routing number”. The number can vary depending on the state.
2. Go to the IRS Free File website
Visit the IRS Free File website, which has a number of online tools that you can use to submit a return for free. These tools ask you a few questions to help you choose the right login status for you and determine if you can claim someone as a dependent.
You can also fill out the forms yourself online or even print them out and send them by post. But trust us: it’s a lot easier to do with one of the free filing tools.
3. Enter $ 1 for your income if you haven’t earned anything
If you made money for the year for which you are applying, please provide this amount. Since your income was so low that you didn’t have to file a tax return for the year, you shouldn’t worry about income tax.
What if you didn’t earn any income? “You’d bet $ 1,” Allec said. “Do not worry. You will not owe any taxes on that dollar. “
4. Enter your direct deposit information
Back to the bank account information that you hopefully gathered, it’s really important that you enter it in. The tax return program you use will ask for this information prior to filing. If you are filling out Form 1040 manually, enter it on line 35.
However, if you can submit your return online, you will receive it much faster. The IRS has a huge backlog of unprocessed paper returns that could keep you waiting for months. Meanwhile, the average online return is processed within 21 days or less.
5. Sign … and wait
When you submit your return online, choose a five-digit PIN that will serve as an electronic signature. When you print and ship your return, don’t forget to physically sign it.
From this point on, all you can do is wait. Payments began on March 17th and will continue over the coming weeks. Once you’ve submitted your return, you will be able to track your stimulus check using the Get My Payment feature on the IRS website.
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advisory column. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].