Continuing an ongoing effort to help those experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, the IRS has reminded people who do not have a permanent address or a bank account that may still qualify for Economic Impact Payments (EIP) and other tax benefits.
While EIPs are made automatically to most people, payments cannot be issued to eligible Americans when there is no information available in the tax agency’s systems. For this reason, the IRS urges employers and others to share information about EIPs and encourage the rural poor and other historically under-served groups to file returns so they can receive the benefits they are entitled to.
Individuals who do not normally file tax returns should nevertheless file a basic 2020 tax return with the IRS. Returns can be filed for free using the Free File tool available on IRS.gov. Once the return is processed, the IRS can send stimulus payments to an address that is selected by the eligible individual. Importantly, people do not need a permanent address, bank account, or a job. Payments are issued to eligible individuals even if the person has not filed returns in years.
Individuals in this category can still qualify for the first two EIPs when they file their 2020 return by claiming recovery rebate credit. For the current round of payments, individuals who are experiencing homelessness may qualify to receive $1,400 for themselves. If they are married or have dependents, they can get an additional $1,400 for each of their family members.
In addition, some eligible workers experiencing homelessness may qualify for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). To be eligible, the worker must have lived in the U.S. for more than half of the year and meet other requirements. For 2020, the income limit is $15,820 for individuals with no children, and $21,710 for couples with no children.
If individuals want to receive their payments through direct deposit, many financial institutions are helping them open a low-cost or no-cost bank account. Those that open accounts will then have an account and routing number available when they claim a direct deposit of their EIP. Those with a prepaid debit card may be able to have their refund applied to the card.