Common Stimulus Check Questions

Thanks to the CARES Act, stimulus checks were issued by the Internal Revenue Service beginning in April to help millions of Americans during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Due to the urgency and need for quick distribution, many people were left wondering if, and when, they would get a payment.

The IRS set up a GET MY PAYMENT tool on their website to track the status of your payment along with an estimated date of arrival.  Information on the website is updated every night.

But everyone still has questions about these hastily rolled out stimulus payments promised to individuals.  We’ve collected some of the most common questions our team has been asked.

Do I owe the IRS taxes on my stimulus payment?

No, your stimulus check is not considered income, and you will not be taxed on it next tax season.

Will my stimulus check be used to pay taxes I owe?

No, the IRS will not automatically use your stimulus check as payment towards taxes you owe. You will have to make the payment on your own manually. Your stimulus check will also not reduce or increase your refund or taxes owed.

Will I need to document my stimulus payment as income?

No, the IRS does not consider your stimulus money as income.  The stimulus payment is an advance on a 2020 tax credit and will need to be reported as such when filing your 2020 taxes.

Will my stimulus check affect my tax refund for 2020?

No, it will not affect the amount of taxes you owe, or the amount of any tax refund received. You might have heard about the stimulus payment being an “advance”. This is referencing to a special tax credit that will appear on the 2020 tax return. The credit will reduce any tax bill on a dollar-for-dollar basis if you have one for the 2020 tax year.  The tax credit cannot be claimed until taxes are filed. Due to the impact that COVID-19 has had on a national level, the government has provided qualified taxpayers their credit early in the form of a cash payment.

What happens if I never receive my stimulus check?

This may very well happen to a handful of individuals who are expecting a stimulus check but never actually received it. When filing your 2020 taxes you will be asked, “Did you receive a stimulus check and for what amount?”. If you did not receive a stimulus check then the amount of the stimulus check will be applied to your tax refund. If you answer yes, then your tax return or taxes owed will not be impacted. If you answer no, when you did receive a stimulus check, your tax return will be denied by the IRS and cause a delay in your return being filed.

Can the IRS reduce my stimulus payment if I owe other debts?

No, with only one exception, past-due child support. The IRS will not withhold or reduce your stimulus check unless you are past due on child support. Under the CARES Act, no other federal or state debts that would traditionally offset tax refunds will reduce the amount of the stimulus payment received.  Creditors may try to garnish the stimulus payment once it is deposited.

Will my stimulus check affect my eligibility for government aid?

No, your stimulus check amount will not be counted as income and will not affect the income amount used to determine eligibility for any federal government assistance or benefit programs.

I have not received my stimulus payment yet, when will it arrive?

May 13th was the deadline to provide the IRS your banking information via the IRS website. For stimulus payments to be directly deposited into your bank account, banking information was required. If not, checks will be mailed.


The IRS is expecting to mail a follow-up letter within 15 days of payments being sent out or direct deposited. It will include information on how the payment was provided (direct deposited or check) and how to report any failure to receive the amount owed.