As many as 32,000 Mainers might still be able to receive a federal stimulus payment this year if they file with the IRS by the October 15 deadline, according to Maine Equal Justice, CA$H Maine, and the Maine Center for Economic Policy.
Since tax filers received their checks automatically earlier this year, people who normally do not file taxes are most likely to be missing out on their payment. People who are likely to fall into this “non-filer” category include low-income families with children, people long disconnected from work opportunities, people of color, and people lacking secure housing. These individuals have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
The full stimulus payment of $1,200 is available to individuals who have no income or earn less than $75,000, or under $150,000 if married filing taxes jointly.
“Right now, there are potentially thousands of Mainers who haven’t received their stimulus checks but qualify for a payment,” said Ann Danforth, a policy advocate with Maine Equal Justice.
“If you don’t usually file taxes and you haven’t gotten your $1,200 stimulus check yet, you must go to www.irs.gov/eip to complete an online form by October 15 in order to receive your payment this year” Janet Smith of CA$H Maine emphasized. “This is one of the biggest pools of support available to Mainers with low incomes right now.”
The IRS “Get My Payment” tool allows anyone to check when and how their payment will arrive. For questions about the status of a payment, people can call the IRS hotline at 800-919-9835. Online or phone support is also available for anyone who has more questions. United Way’s 211 EIP Helpline (1-844-322-3639) provides live assistance to help people complete the form and answer questions about eligibility.
In early September, the IRS announced it was sending letters to 32,346 potential non-filers in Maine, who need to file a tax return or complete an online IRS form by October 15 to receive their stimulus payment this year.
According to data released by the IRS:
- 4,752 of these letters went to recipients with zip codes in Cumberland County
- 2,596 went to recipients with zip codes in York County
- 1,854 went to Androscoggin County
These payments would go to low-income individuals and families at a time when need is rising due to the pandemic. Applications for food assistance in the state increased by 40% in the first week of August and applications for TANF tripled. Since the beginning of August, MaineHousing has received three times the number of rental relief applications than were filed in July.
While some non-filers have already used the non-filers tool, according to a June analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, there are approximately 6,900 Maine Households, including 14,900 adults and 6,900 children, who are low-income SNAP recipients who have likely been missed by the IRS’ automatic payments. These payments alone total close to $13 million – money that otherwise will not reach the individuals these payments are meant for, nor get put into the state’s economy.
The IRS is automatically sending payments to people who already filed taxes for 2018 or 2019; receive Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI); or who are a railroad retiree or Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiary. If you fall into this category but still haven’t received your payment, call the IRS hotline at 800-919-9835. According to the IRS’ most recent May 22 report, 714,941 Economic impact payments have been made to Mainers in the amount of $1,215,239,330.