In light of the coronavirus stimulus checks being sent out across the U.S., there has been a lot of confusion and unnecessary fear brewing among Americans concerned about their money at a very dire time. While a social media rumor suggests people who get a "stimulus check" during the coronavirus pandemic will have a reduced tax refund in the future, that is simply not the case. Independent fact-checking service FactCheck.org laid out the myth earlier this week, explaining it won't cut into future tax refunds. In fact, the Emergency Impact Payments going out to millions of Americans are not expected to be paid back in any way.
A viral post, which has been making the rounds on various forms of social media, states people who get the $1,200 "stimulus check" from the U.S. government will see a reduced tax refund in the future. Howver, the IRS itself has rebuked this story, stating how the stimulus payment "will not reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return next year." The payment is intended to cushion the blow of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, and is not at all a loan. It was released as part of the CARES Act, passed by the Senate, Congress and the White House.
The CARES Act released about $2 trillion in federal funds to aid the country's response to the coronavirus crisis. That includes bailouts for big corporations, assistance for employers and the individual stimulus payments going out to millions of Americans. In general, adult taxpayers are getting up to $1,200 each, while those with children are getting up to $500 extra to care for them.
The Treasury Department made the decision to use the IRS for distributing those stimulus payments with the same methods that they distribute tax refunds, which may account for the conflation in some cases. However, the IRS is only using the direct deposit information or mailing address from your 2018 or 2019 tax filing. Beyond that, the stimulus payment has nothing to do with one's taxes.
The agency is now working to combat misinformation spreading quickly online. The social media companies are aiding in this effort, not wanting their platforms to be inundated with false or even predatory claims. One particularly viral video about the stimulus check began on TikTok.
"See, what they don't tell you is that this is just an advance on your next tax return... Next year, you're automatically going to owe $1,200 come tax season," the TikTok user stated in the video. According to FactCheck.org, this "influencer" likely thought they were telling the truth, when in fact they were misinterpreting the law. The site then reached out to various agencies at the government to confirm that this story about a "tax credit" is not true.
TikTok took down the offending video, though by then it had migrated and been reposted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others. So far, it looks like the fact-checkers at those companies are doing their best to take down posts like this wherever they find them, but users should be weary of what they read online — especially when it comes to their money.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the Economic Impact Payments, visit the IRS' website. For the latest information on the coronavirus itself, visit the CDC's website. Furthermore, keep it locked to PopCulture.com and our Twitter for the latest news.