Stimulus checks 'delayed because Trump demanded his name on them'

Stimulus checks worth $1,200 for every American have been ‘delayed for days because Donald Trump demanded the IRS print his name on them after being told he was not allowed to sign them’ 

  • Report says that Treasury instructed IRS to add Trump’s names to the checks
  • IRS programmers working from home are furiously trying to update system
  • Americans will receive the payments by direct deposit or physical checks
  • Checks may be delayed for days to add Trump’s name, report says 
  • Trump reportedly asked to sign the checks but is not legally allowed to 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

The U.S. Treasury Department has reportedly ordered President Donald Trump’s name to be printed on checks the Internal Revenue Service is planning to send to tens of millions of Americans, slowing their delivery by several days,.

The $1,200 checks to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus crisis will bear Trump’s name in the memo line, below a line that reads, ‘Economic Impact Payment’, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday citing unnamed administration officials.

The White House and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The decision to include Trump’s name was announced to the IRS information technology team on Tuesday, the Post reported.

The U.S. Treasury Department has reportedly ordered President Donald Trump’s name to be printed on checks the Internal Revenue Service is planning to send to Americans

A fictitious United States Treasury refund check, which typically shows the signature of a career civil servant from the IRS on the memo line

‘The team, working from home, is now racing to implement a programming change that two senior officials said will likely lead to a delay in issuing the first batch of paper checks,’ the newspaper said.

The name of the president has never before appeared on checks issued by the IRS, such as for tax refunds. Those checks are typically signed by career bureaucrats at the agency.

Citing administration officials, the Post reported that Trump had privately suggested to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who oversees the IRS, to allow the president to formally sign the checks.

The president is not an authorized signer for legal disbursements by the U.S. Treasury, however. 

The checks will carry the signature of an official with the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, the Treasury Department division that prints the checks. 

The report drew allegations that Trump is trying to use the stimulus checks to boost his re-election bid, by giving voters the impression that he is personally responsible for the relief payments.

Doors at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in Seattle are seen in a file photo

‘He is delaying printed checks so they can update computer code to include his name in the memo line. True story,’ tweeted actress Alyssa Milano. 

‘The narcissism has always been gross. Now it will delay millions of families from receiving money they desperately need,’ Georgia-based publisher Hans Appen wrote. 

‘Reports of further delays to the stimulus checks with the unprecedented requirement that they each be 6 feet long and individually delivered by the publisher’s clearinghouse prize patrol,’ joked radio producer Charles Bergquist. 

A Treasury Department representative, however, denied any delay and said the plan all along was to issue the checks next week.

‘Economic Impact Payment checks are scheduled to go out on time and exactly as planned—there is absolutely no delay whatsoever,’ the representative said in a written statement to the Post.

The individual stimulus checks are part of the $2.3 trillion aid package passed by Congress and signed by Trump last month. 

Many Americans will receive their stimulus check by direct deposit in their bank account, if they provided the IRS with direct deposit information on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns.

For those who did not file a return in either year, the IRS has an online form to provide payment information to receive a direct deposit or check.

The IRS has already begun issuing the one-time payments this week. Direct deposits are expected to go out faster than the physical checks.

Most adults who earned up to $75,000 will see a $1,200 payout, while married couples who made up to $150,000 can expect to get $2,400. Parents will get payments of $500 per child.

In recent days, social media posts have falsely claimed there’s one catch to this money — that you´ll eventually have to pay it back.

‘Next year, you´re automatically going to owe $1,200 come tax season,’ one of the videos, viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube, falsely claims. The video has also been shared widely on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, which are working to deliver the money to people, confirmed that households will not have to pay back the money in next year’s tax filing.

‘This is not an advance and there is absolutely no obligation to pay it back,’ Treasury spokeswoman Patricia McLaughlin said in an email.

The confusion on social media appears to have stemmed from language in the economic rescue bill that refers to the checks as an ‘advance refund’ because the money is being given out in the 2020 tax year, before Americans have even filed their tax returns for the year.

The 2020 tax form has not been printed but the relief checks will not have any bearing on your income deductions next year, said Eric Smith, a spokesman for the IRS.  

Airlines get their piece of the stimulus pie: Treasury reaches deal to prop up payrolls with $25 billion in exchange for option to take ownership stake

The same $2.3 trillion stimulus bill that ordered checks for many Americans contained massive fiscal stimulus for businesses as well. 

Ten U.S. airlines, including the ‘Big Four,’ have agreed to terms to accept a $25 billion in federal aid to meet payrolls during the coronavirus crisis in exchange for granting the Treasury Department the option to exercise small ownership stakes.

American, Delta, United and Southwest Airlines were among the carriers that agreed to the massive bailout deal, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

merican, Delta, United and Southwest Airlines were among the carriers that agreed to the massive bailout deal, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (left) said on Tuesday evening

News of the deal sent airline stocks soaring in after-hours trading, with Delta shares rising 9.5 percent and American up 10.7 percent. 

Also accepting federal aid were: Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and SkyWest Airlines. 

The deal includes 10 of the top 12 U.S. carriers. The other two, Spirit Airlines and Republic Airlines, said on Tuesday that they were still in discussions with the Treasury. 

The assistance will include a mix of cash and loans, with the government getting warrants that can be converted into small ownership stakes in the leading airlines.

Major carriers will receive 70 percent of the funds for payroll in cash assistance that will not need to be paid back, while smaller carriers receiving $100 million or less will not need to repay any funds. 

This chart shows the number of daily air travelers in the US (blue) as well as that number’s change from a year ago (red), based on data released by the TSA

The airlines did not want to give up equity, but Treasury demanded compensation for taxpayers. 

The airlines have little leverage – their business has collapsed as the coronavirus pandemic reduces air travel to a trickle and they face mass layoffs without the federal aid.

According to the statute, companies receiving funds cannot lay off employees before September 30 or change collective bargaining agreements and must agree to restrictions on buybacks, executive compensation and dividends.

Buybacks and dividends are banned through September 2021, and executives must accept salary restrictions until late March 2022. 

The statute gave Treasury the authority to demand compensation for the grants, but did not require it.

WHAT WILL I GET AND HOW WILL I GET IT? YOUR GUIDE TO THE BAILOUT CASH

The stimulus bailout of up to $1,200 per person will go to everyone with income below $99,000 a year last year, or $198,000 for a married couple, and to some single parents earning up to $136,500. Parents who are eligible will get $500 for each of their children.

The source of your income is irrelevant, meaning social security recipients are eligible too.

How do I work out whether I am eligible?

First you need to find whether your adjusted gross income (AGI) was under the $99,000 adjusted gross income limit, or the $198,000 if you file as a married couple.

That is not the amount on your paycheck but your total income minus some permitted tax deductions including student loan interest payments – and your AGI can be found on your 2018 or 2019 tax return.

You also have to be a citizen or permanent resident, meaning workers on visas and undocumented – or illegal – aliens will not get cash despite having paid taxes.

How much will I get if I am a single filer?

If your adjusted gross income was under $75,000, you will get $1,200. 

For every $100 of adjusted gross income over $75,000 you will lose $5 from the check or deposit. So if your AGI was $85,000, you will get a check of $700. 

I’m a single parent – how am I affected?

If you file as head of household as many single parents do, the AGI limits are higher. You will get a $1,200 check if your AGI is under $112,500 and the upper limit for a payment is $136,500. All eligible parents receive $500 extra checks per child under 17.

What about married couples?

The limits for married couples to get payments is simply double that for single filers. So if your joint AGI is under $150,000 you get a full payment of $2,400. Payments taper down and no couple with an AGI above $198,000 get a payment. Parents get $500 per child. 

How will I get paid – and when?

That depends on how you – or your tax filer – filed your tax return in 2019 or 2018. If you gave your bank account details for your refund to be directly deposited, your payment will come directly and could come as early as Wednesday. 

The same applies if you receive Social Security retirement or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits – your payment will go direct into your bank account. That also applies to people who receive payments from the Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits scheme.  

But if you opted for a check from the IRS, you will get your bailout payment by check. It will take the IRS 20 weeks to print the full number of checks it is anticipating sending out.

The IRS says it is planning to produce a website tool to enter your bank information to cut the number of people who need checks – but that has still to go into action

I didn’t file a tax return and I’m not on Social Security. Will I miss out?

People with incomes below $12,200 – $24,400 for couples – do not have to file federal tax returns but they are eligible. However you need to sign up at the IRS website’s special section to get the payment.

What if I don’t have a bank? 

The government has still to specify any help for people without banks to cash their checks without paying fees but there have been calls for it to ask big banks to do so. 

I earned more than the limit in 2019 and 2018 but now I’ve lost my job. Will I get a payment?

No. The checks are based on what people earned in the last tax return which is on file. So many people who lost jobs paying above the limit will get no help from the scheme. It is possible that the IRS comes up with a way to issue payments to such people in the future.

 

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