When U.S. Expats Can Expect to Receive Their COVID-19 Stimulus Checks

Following its official enactment into law on March 27, 2020, the CARES Act – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act – is designed to offer a one-time stimulus payment for Americans and American businesses who have been negatively affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The payments come in the form of $1,200 per qualifying adult, with married couples jointly receiving a total of $2,400 provided both of the spouses qualify as well as an additional $500 per qualifying dependent child who is under 17 years of age.

This act also applies to United States expats as well; however, in order for them to qualify for this aid, they will be required to meet specific conditions.

These conditions include the following:

*An expat must have a valid United States social security number. Additionally, their spouse and children must also have valid United States social security numbers as well in order to qualify for the additional stimulus payment amounts. ITIN numbers on their own will not be acceptable.

*The total adjusted gross income of an expat as reported on their most recently filed Form 1040 for either 2018 or 2019 must be under $99,000. If a married couple will be receiving a stimulus payment, then this total must be under $198,000. The full $1,200 stimulus payment will be issued to those expats whose total adjusted gross income was $75,000 or less, while the $2,400 payment will be issued to married couples filing jointly whose total adjusted gross income was $150,000 or less, after which the total amount paid will slowly begin to phase out.

*An expat must be completely up to date with all of their United States tax filing.

In terms of how the stimulus payments will be paid to expats, these will be sent via direct deposit into the United States bank account that was included on their most recent tax return. Having the payment sent via direct deposit means that it will more than likely appear in your bank account rather quickly, and you also will receive it in this manner if you received your 2018 or 2019 tax refund via direct deposit as well. In the event that no bank details were provided, the IRS has provided an online portal in which the details can be provided. Those who do not provide their bank details will instead receive a check that will be mailed to the contact address that was provided on the tax return that they last filed.

It will also be possible for an expat to receive a stimulus check in their current country of residence by simply filing their 2019 expat taxes as quickly as possible. When doing this, be sure to include your updated address on these documents; however, keep in mind that if your stimulus check will be mailed to you at your current address, it will be sent through international mail, meaning that it will likely take much longer to get to you as opposed to receiving your stimulus payment through direct deposit.

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