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Have questions about the stimulus payments or unemployment benefits?  Then this blog post’s for you.

First of all, please be extra careful of SCAMS related to these “economic impact” (stimulus) payments.

Here is a list of some of the new scams that are happening right now.  Please consider sharing this blog post with friends and family who need to be aware of these scams!!!

Secondly, we want to give you a few very important updates about these stimulus payments.

IRS has released a brand new tool on its website that will allow you to do the following:

  • Put in your bank account info for a direct deposit of stimulus payment.  This is if you do NOT already have bank info on file with IRS from a prior year tax return.  If you DO have bank info on file with IRS, you do NOT need to go here to put in your bank info.
  • You can also use this tool to check the status of your stimulus payment.  BE ADVISED THAT IT MAY SAY SOMETHING LIKE “NO INFORMATION YET” BECAUSE THEY JUST STARTED THE PAYMENTS THIS WEEK.  So you may need to check back.
  • If you are not required to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, and you have not filed a tax return for either of those years, you can go here to input your “basic information” and qualify for a stimulus payment.  Keep in mind this is ONLY necessary if you have not filed a 2018 or 2109 tax return.  Also remember, if you were a dependent on someone else’s tax return for 2019, you won’t qualify for stimulus using this tool.

Here’s a direct link to the tool: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment

Keep in mind that this tool is literally brand new and there are millions of people using it right now, so please don’t expect it to work perfectly.

And please don’t bother contacting us if it says “technical error” or similar because we have absolutely no way to fix anything on the IRS website.

Now one “tricky” thing here is that, as of now, the system doesn’t seem to allow you to UPDATE your bank info.  For example, if your bank account changed from the time you filed your last tax return.  It looks like they will only let you PUT IN bank info if you don’t have a bank account on file with IRS as of now.

If you have an old or closed bank account on your last tax return, the IRS has stated that the “attempt” at direct deposit to the old / close account will fail and be sent back to IRS, and then they will issue you a paper check.

Probably wouldn’t hurt though to go here and update your bank info just in case, if you can: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment

Another tricky thing about these stimulus payments happens if you used our “pay your tax prep fee out of your tax refund” service, which is called a “bank product.”  When this happens, a third party bank receives your tax refund, and then pays us our tax prep fee, they take their fee, and then send you the remainder of the refund.

The issue is, for these bank products, the third party bank has their direct deposit info on your tax return.

The IRS said that they were going to “bypass” these third party banks and deposit straight to taxpayer’s bank account.

HOWEVER, we are getting some reports that some portion of bank products are being paid into the third party bank’s bank account.

We are working with our third party bank to see how they will handle these.  We are hearing that they are going to send back the payment to IRS.  But that is NOT confirmed as of now.

What we’re recommending then for bank product clients is you go here to put in your bank account info so that if and when IRS gets the payment back from third party bank, they’ll have your bank info on file.

Alternatively you can just wait on a paper check.

Regardless, we do NOT in any situation keep your stimulus money, and certainly we will NOT allow our banking partner to take any of your stimulus money.

But if you used a bank product, you’re just going to have to be a little bit patient as we work with our third party bank to find out exactly how they’re going to handle this.

OK so that’s your update on the “where’s my stimulus” SITUATION (and what a situation it is).

Unemployment Assistance

OK now secondly let’s talk about unemployment assistance, another big topic that people have a lot of questions about.

You’ve likely heard the numbers (17+ million filed for unemployment so far) and given those numbers, it’s no surprise that California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) and other state unemployment agencies are not exactly picking up the phone on the first ring so to speak…

Be prepared to be patient and diligent in working through the unemployment claims system and stay calm and work through it.

For the first time, self-employed including “gig workers” may qualify for unemployment, so the state agencies are needing to rewrite their application processes on the fly to accommodate these new types of filers.

Here’s the link to apply for CA unemployment if you need it: https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/filing_a_claim.htm

Here is a page they’re maintaining for “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” in particular: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/pandemic-unemployment-assistance.htm

(Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is the part of the rules that now apply self-employed to claim and other people who would otherwise not be eligible.)

Keep in mind you may also be able to claim unemployment if your hours or pay have been reduced but not totally laid off.

We are getting reports now that CA has now started issuing the extra $600 per week for unemployment benefits.

Hopefully we can all get back to work soon but in the meantime, the unemployment system provides a much better “safety net” than it did before with this extra $600 per week and other “expanded eligibility” rules.

Again keep in mind though that getting an initial claim to go through and get funded isn’t always the fastest or easiest process, due to the volume of people applying.

Lastly we just want to conclude with a reminder that we all need to be relying on OURSELVES and our FAMILIES and FRIENDS to get through this together.

Yes these government programs can help and are important, but let’s not forget that WE have incredible resiliency and determination, and WE need to be putting that to use right now to get through this tough time.

We are rooting for you and hopefully this information is helpful to you!!!


Your Pronto Income Tax Team