It sounds like more stimulus checks could be on the way, after all.
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged that Congress is “taking a careful look” at another coronavirus relief package to help the millions of American households and businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic.
While GOP lawmakers balked at Democrats’ initial proposal for additional stimulus, McConnell’s comments indicate that his side of the aisle is open to one more “final bill,” as he put it, that would likely yet again include direct stimulus payments to Americans.
Though it’s still early days (McConnell said the decision on another stimulus package would be made “in about a month”), here’s what to know about a potential “round 2” of stimulus checks—and how you can to ensure that you get yours pronto.
Democrats suggest bigger payments—but GOP hints at more “narrow” scope
If the Democrats $3 trillion HEROES Act proposal is anything to go by, the next round of checks cut by the government would be even fatter than the first.
Like the CARES Act, the HEROES Act called for direct payments of up to $1,200 for Americans earning up to $75,000 per year and $2,400 for couples earning up to $150,000 annually. But it also would boost payments for families with children and other dependents—to the tune of $1,200 per dependent, for up to three dependents. That would mean a married couple earning less than $150,000 annually, with three or more children or dependents in their household, would be eligible to receive $6,000 from the government.
But such generous payments appear unlikely to draw the support of Republicans on Capitol Hill. McConnell himself noted that any new stimulus bill “will be narrowly crafted” and “designed to help us where we are a month from now—not where we were three months ago.”
File your taxes (if you haven’t already)
The IRS may have extended this year’s income tax filing deadline to July 15 amid the coronavirus pandemic—but if you’re among the Americans who have yet to declare your 2019 income, you should probably get around to it soon.
Because as with the CARES Act’s stimulus checks, any new direct payments would most likely be determined by one’s 2019 income tax filing. And if that isn’t available, the IRS would almost certainly resort to using the income declared on one’s 2018 tax filing instead.
So if your earnings declined last year, or you got married or had children, it would be wise to give the IRS the most up-to-date picture on your financial situation via your 2019 income tax filing. Otherwise, you could get short-changed on your stimulus check—and may have to wait until filing your 2020 tax return to receive what you’re owed.
Make sure the IRS has your bank account info
The best way to ensure you receive any stimulus payment from the federal government as soon as possible is to provide your bank account’s direct deposit information with the IRS. Otherwise, you may have to wait weeks, if not months, for a paper check (or prepaid debit card) to arrive in the mail.
If you haven’t already given that direct deposit info to the IRS (as many do, in order to receive their refund electronically), then the IRS’s “Get My Payment” portal is the way to do it. Yes, the website has been beset by technical issues since its launch in mid-April—but if you can access the portal, the IRS allows you to share your bank account and routing numbers so that it can transmit funds to you via direct deposit.
More personal finance coverage from Fortune:
- Can I write off my rent? What you need to know about tax write-offs while working from home during the coronavirus
- What to do if your stimulus check is for the wrong amount
- If your unemployment claim was denied, here are your options
- Can’t pay rent? The coronavirus stimulus package may be able to help you
- VIDEO: 401(k) withdrawal penalties waived for anyone hurt by COVID-19