What the second stimulus check and the first have in common (and what they don’t)

The HEALS Act, the relief bill proposed on Monday by Republicans, introduced among other measures, a new direct payment to taxpayers. What things does it share with the first stimulus check and which are different?

Republicans on Monday gave probably one of the most important news for families struggling to overcome the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic: their relief bill does include direct payment for most taxpayers.

Although the $ 1 trillion Republican proposal has only been presented and has yet to be discussed with Democrats, a first comparison can already be made between the second stimulus check (if this proposal is enacted)  and the one that was included in the Cares Act.

Similarities

Amount: The base amount is the same for both checks. Individual filers could receive up to $ 1,200 and couples that file jointly up to $ 2,400 dollars. The amount per dependent would also be the same although the new proposal includes more people as eligible dependents.

Threshold: The maximum annual income threshold for receiving the full amount of financial aid is also the same: $75,000. From that amount - and up to an annual gross income of $ 99,000- the amount will be progressively reduced.

Fiscal year: The fiscal year that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would use to see who qualifies would also be 2019. In case the agency does not have the information for that year, it would turn to the 2018 tax return.

Those who do not have to file tax returns for 2018 and 2019 can update their information in the IRS 'Non-filers' tool.

Immigrants: Immigrants with no legal status would not receive the second payment. Neither would their American spouses or US-born children would not be eligible to receive $500.

Federal debts: As happened with the first direct payment, the check proposed by the Republicans would also not be used to pay state or federal debts that the taxpayer may have, except for child support payments that are due.

Differences

Dependents: Taxpayers would receive $500 dollars for each dependent again, but the bill expands the definition. The difference is that this new payment would not only include children under 17 but have no age limit. This will especially benefit those who have university students or older people as dependents.

Deceased people: Deceased or imprisoned people are explicitly excluded from the proposal. No one who died before January 1, 2020, or who has been in jail this year would receive this one-time payment.

This issue was a problem in the first round of checks and led the Treasury Department to withdraw payments made in error or to cancel the checks sent.

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