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IRS, Treasury Have Issued About 90M Pandemic Relief Payments

By David van den Berg · March 17, 2021, 5:11 PM EDT

The Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of the Treasury have delivered about 90 million pandemic relief payments, valued at more than $242 billion, since last week, according to an IRS statement Wednesday.

The first set of payments, authorized last week with the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act , were sent mostly by direct deposit, the statement said. Taxpayers who provided direct deposit information on 2019 or 2020 returns, including people who don't typically file returns but succeeded in using the agency's online nonfilers tool in 2020, primarily received payments in the first round, according to the statement, which was attributed to the IRS, Treasury and its Bureau of the Fiscal Service.

"As of today, all recipients of this first batch of direct deposit payments will have access to their funds," the statement said.

Most payments will ultimately be sent by direct deposit, according to the statement.

Treasury has also mailed about 150,000 checks worth approximately $442 million in the first set of payments, the statement said.

The American Rescue Plan Act directed the distribution of the payments, and processing of them started on March 12, according to the statement. The pandemic relief law, which President Joe Biden signed March 11, calls for sending payments of $1,400 to people with adjusted gross incomes at or below $75,000 that are phased out at the $80,000 income level. Couples with adjusted gross incomes of $150,000 are eligible for payments, with the income threshold phaseout at $160,000.

Nonresident alien individuals are barred from receiving payments, as are estates and trusts. However, the rescue law authorizes $1,400 payments for most dependents claimed on tax returns. The prior two rounds of economic impact payments provided additional money only for children under age 17.

The new round of economic impact payments follows two called for in 2020 legislation. The first came from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act  and the second in the Consolidated Appropriations Act . The CARES Act provided direct $1,200 payments to eligible individuals, while the appropriations law provided direct payments of $600 to eligible individuals.

The IRS administered the CARES Act payments, with Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service sending them, according to a 2020 Congressional Research Service report. The fiscal service bureau received $7 million in the American Rescue Plan Act to carry out the payments involved.

--Additional reporting by Dylan Moroses and Theresa Schliep. Editing by Neil Cohen.

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