March 13, 2021 - Douglas Myser

Stimulus payments to go out in days.  With plenty of practice sending relief payments to Americans, the federal government should be able to launch the delivery of $1400 checks almost immediately once Congress finalizes the new aid bill and President Joe Biden signs it, tax experts say. Some Americans might see relief as soon as the following week if the bill passes right away, as expected, that compared to the several weeks lag in April of 2020. Nearly 160 million households will be eligible for the $1400 checks, according to White House estimates. The Treasury Department's Internal Revenue Service will have new challenges on it's hands, in administering the relief bill, as they have to make sure the income limits are adhered to. Stimulus payments to go out in days.

The new relief bill includes $1400 stimulus checks, is also includes an expanded Child Tax Credit of up to $3000 per child, paid monthly starting in July, essentially forcing the revenue collector to act as benefits administrator for the rest of the year. The IRS, which has more than 70,000 employees, handles over 190 million individual and corporate tax returns a year, but it has been hobbled by budget cuts and obsolete technology in recent years. The IRS has the most outdated computer system in the entire Federal Government, but it is now being replaced. The COVID-19 bill includes $1.46 billion for the agency, which is running into its busiest season, as the April 15th deadline for individual taxpayers nears. A U.S. Treasury spokeswoman said the Biden Administration's priority was to speed relief to Americans adding "Treasury stands ready to implement the direct payment check program as soon as the American Rescue Plan is passed." Stimulus payments to go out in days.

Making one off payments to those who regularly file tax returns should not be a struggle for the IRS, said Janet Holtzblatt, Senior Fellow with the Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center. It took the IRS more than two weeks to begin sending out the first $1200 electronic payments to taxpayers in April 2020. The slowdown had to do with Trump wanting his name printed on the stimulus checks.

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