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Now that you've received your economic impact payment, how should you spend it?

Posted at 5:38 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 18:23:25-04

BALTIMORE — According to the Treasury Department, millions of Americans should've received their economic impact payments from the IRS.

The payments were issued to eligible 2019 or 2018 federal tax return filers who received a refund using direct deposit.

Payments are capped at $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, and are based on income.

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If you're still waiting for your check, the IRS has created a tool on their site where you can check the status of your payment and input banking information, if needed. If the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information, and you don't provide it, then you'll receive a check in the mail, but those haven't gone out yet.

As far as how you should spend your economic impact payment, John Bratsakis, president and CEO of the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association, said it's important to be thoughtful.

"We recommend people have at least three months worth of savings in case of a situation like this," said Bratsakis.

He understands that's not always possible, but said people need to have a plan in case their finances take a hit. Also, utilize the different breaks being offered by lenders, businesses, and agencies in order to pay the most pressing bills.

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The MD|DC CUA provided the tips below.

5 Best Ways to Use Your Economic Impact Payment:

  1. Prioritize: Focus on the essentials, paying bills that keep a roof over your head, the lights on and food on the table.
  2. Pay Down Debt: Use some of the money to make minimum payments on credit card debt or other obligations.
  3. Plan: Earmark money for a future car repair or budget your mortgage payment for the next two months. 
  4. Prepare: If you are still working and don’t need the money right now, put it in your emergency savings account. If you don’t have one, now is a good time to open one. Financial institutions like credit unions and banks are federally insured, so your money is safe.
  5. Provide Support: If you’re financially secure and want to help the local economy, patronize a locally owned restaurant, retailer or other small business. You can also donate to a local food bank or other non-profit where your dollars will make a difference in your community.

For everyone who received a payment, the IRS will send a paper notice in the mail letting you know where your payment was sent and in what form. If you can’t find the money, the IRS will provide contact information in that notice.

All of this information plus answers to other questions can be found on IRS.gov/coronavirus.

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