Stefanik, Gillibrand: IRS shouldn’t make people file tax returns to get stimulus
North Country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand don’t like that the IRS is requiring people to file tax returns — even senior citizens and others who don’t normally have to file — before they receive stimulus checks Congress approved amid the COVID-19 crisis.
This week the IRS issued a press release that said, “People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment.” But many members of Congress say the $2.2 trillion CARES Act they approved last week ensures that these people don’t have to file tax returns, and that the Social Security Administration would ensure their eligibility instead.
Both Stefanik, a Republican, and Gillibrand, a Democrat, voted for the CARES Act.
“During this unprecedented time of need, requiring seniors to go through the confusing and laborious tax return filing process before receiving desperately needed stimulus checks is unacceptable,” Stefanik said Wednesday. “Thousands of seniors across my district do not file tax returns because their main source of income is Social Security. North Country seniors should not have the added burden and stress of figuring out how to file tax returns before receiving the checks that Congress allocated for them. I represent one of the largest constituencies of seniors in the country, and I will continue to be their advocate. This policy must be clarified immediately.”
Gillibrand said, “The administration must enforce the guidelines as detailed in the CARES Act and administer direct cash assistance to social security recipients. Requiring tax returns places undue burden on Social Security recipients — like retired seniors and individuals with disabilities — who have difficulty filing their returns. To ensure these direct payments get into the hands of those who need it the most, I urge the administration to make them as accessible as possible.”
The full stimulus payment, lowered for those with higher income, is $1,200 for an individual or $2,400 for a married couple, plus $500 for each qualifying child.