Americans could wait up to 20 weeks for mailed stimulus checks: Democratic memo

The IRS will likely start issuing coronavirus relief payments to taxpayers in mid-April and begin issuing paper checks several weeks later, and it could take up to 20 weeks for all of the paper checks to be issued, according to a memo prepared by the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee.

The memo, which is being circulated to Democratic House offices and was obtained by The Hill, outlines what Ways and Means Committee staff expect the timeline for issuing the rebates to be, based on conversations with Treasury Department and IRS officials. The memo said that this timeline is subject to change, and that the Ways and Means Committee is working to ensure that Americans receive their rebates as soon as possible.

The coronavirus relief bill that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse panel approves 0.5B defense policy bill House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate House panel votes to constrain Afghan drawdown, ask for assessment on 'incentives' to attack US troops MORE signed into law last week created a program for one-time, direct payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The payments are designed to help people who are struggling as a result of the pandemic have more cash flow to cover their expenses.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the Ways and Means Committee document, the IRS is expected to issue 60 million rebates in mid-April, likely the week of April 13, to taxpayers who have already provided their direct deposit information to the IRS on their 2018 or 2019 tax return.

That time frame is in line with comments Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHouse votes unanimously to extend deadline for coronavirus small-business loan program Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Mark Penn The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks MORE made last week, and an IRS news release from Monday, that payments would start to be distributed in the next three weeks.

The IRS is estimating that it will start issuing paper checks about three weeks later, or the week of May 4, the memo said. The checks will be issued starting with the lowest-income people, and they will be issued at a rate of about 5 million checks per week. It could take up to 20 weeks for all of the checks to be issued, according to the memo.

The Ways and Means Committee staff said in the memo that there are about 90 million to 110 million taxpayers from whom the IRS will need information. This group includes people who have filed tax returns in recent years but have not given the IRS their direct-deposit information, as well as nonfilers who may need to file a "simple" tax return if they want to promptly receive their rebates.

The document states that the IRS expects to have a portal in place by the end of April or beginning of May that allows taxpayers to submit their direct-deposit information and check on the status of their payment. The IRS said in a news release Thursday that the agency expects to have the portal for direct-deposit information online in mid-April.

ADVERTISEMENT

The IRS has said that nonfilers, outside of Social Security beneficiaries, will need to file "simple" tax returns to receive their payments. The Ways and Means Committee memo said that the IRS expects to release the simple tax return "soon," and that it will require information such as taxpayers' names, Social Security number, dependents and direct-deposit information.

The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the memo.

CNN first reported on the document.