Stimulus Checks: Couple Missed out on $2,200 Payment for Filing Taxes Early

While many Americans have received their coronavirus relief stimulus checks, one couple says they missed out on their $2,200 payment due to filing their taxes early. Reaching out to The Moneyist for answers, the husband — identified only as John — explained the situation he and his wife and found themselves in. It seems they did not get the max amount possible due to their joint annual income increasing last year.

"In 2018, I made about $155,000 with my wife. In 2019, I got a promotion and our combined annual income was $198,000. I filed my taxes early as I am very responsible, and now I found out that, had I had not filed my 2019 taxes, we would have received a combined $2,400 versus the $200 we just received," John wrote. "I am in the odd and, perhaps, very unlikely situation in which the government screwed me for being conscientious, and filing my taxes early. I was punished for being responsible. Is there anything I can do? I find this very unjust, and poorly thought out."

Responding to the inquiry, The Moneyist — Quentin Fottrell — stated, "I don’t disagree with the facts in your letter. I do disagree your interpretation of those facts. You are correct that you would have received a far larger stimulus check had you not filed your 2019 taxes early. The legislation was rushed through Congress and, while it’s certainly not perfect and some Democratic lawmakers say the CARES Act gives more support to corporations than individuals, it’s still a sum of money that could mean the difference between paying the rent and putting food on the table and paying electricity bills, and not paying them."

Fottrell went on to explain the details of the financial breakdown for the CARES Act, which dictates that payments shrink for those taxpayers who finds themselves in higher income bracket due to less of a necessity for the money. "It’s certainly frustrating for people like you who are just above those thresholds and will receive less or no money from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act. Contrary to your take on this, I would not call it unjust," Fottrell added.

"There must be a line drawn in the sand, just like the line that says once you earn over a certain threshold, you pay more income tax on that amount than someone who earns less," he continud. "It would be a less equitable CARES Act if the money simply stopped after $150,000 for a married couple who file jointly. Attempting to control things that are out of our reach can make us feel angry and seek to blame others — in this case, the government. It’s a natural, if flawed, reaction." At this time, the IRS is still sending out payments, and the benefit of the money will be evaluated by lawmakers in their efforts to decide if another stimulus bill is needed.