The rollout of economic stimulus payments in response to the Covid-19 crisis has left many people with questions, and the Tax Clinic at the UConn School of Law aims to answer them.
Law students Simon Weissman and Teresa Chen worked with Professor Lisa Perkins, director of the Tax Clinic, to script a 10-minute video explaining who qualifies for Economic Impact Payments and how the relief is being distributed.
“The goal of this video is to help taxpayers get their economic impact payments as quickly as possible during this difficult time” says Professor Perkins. “Information and apps have been coming from IRS at breakneck speed. My students had prepared a good draft of this video weeks ago but needed to change it and add to it almost daily. We hope to translate into other languages so that more individuals can access IRS tools to access vital funds they need to pay for necessary living expenses during the pandemic.”
Many factors, including income and number of dependents, affect the amount of each payment. Most individuals qualify for a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment, but there are exceptions, deductions at higher income levels, and additional $500 payments for some dependents.
Among the complexities addressed in the video is that dependents over the age of 16 don’t qualify for an extra payment to their parents. It may therefore make sense for older children to file their own tax returns this year instead of being claimed as dependents
The clinic also suggests filing tax returns electronically because the IRS bases most payments on tax returns, and it has been processing very few paper forms during the pandemic. For those who don’t file tax returns, including some people receiving Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits, the video provides further information and instructions.
Perkins noted that the rules and laws are subject to change and that the video suggests resources for staying informed, including those available at irs.gov.
The Tax Clinic provides free legal help to low-income taxpayers who are facing tax problems with the Internal Revenue Service or the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. The clinic staff and students are also available to answer questions about Economic Impact Payments.