Upcoming IRS Interest Payments, Explained

Almost 14 million Americans are about to receive a new payment from the IRS, but this is not related to the long-awaited second stimulus check. The amounts going out now are interest payments, intended for those who filed their 2019 taxes on time. Because the agency took so long to process tax refunds this year, the amount serves as a consolation prize.

The new payments will go to Americans who filed their taxes by July 15 — the deadline that the IRS pushed back to when the coronavirus pandemic hit, to give people more time. Between the stimulus checks and the deluge of tax filings, the IRS took a long time to process some refunds, so the agency is paying interest to make up for it. The checks are expected to total about $18 and will be issued separately from tax refunds themselves.

For those who are entitled to this interest payment, it will be delivered in the same way that they have requested to receive their tax refund, whether that's direct deposit or a check in the mail. Either way, the payment will be annotated "INT Amount."

The only other thing that makes these payments unique is that they are taxable, unlike the stimulus checks many people got this spring. However, at an estimated $18, that should not throw off most checkbooks too badly.
The news that the IRS was issuing a new payment for some Americans sparked a wave of interest on social media, since millions of Americans are waiting desperately for a second stimulus check. The United States Senate is currently on a month-long recess, scheduled to go from Aug. 10 to Sept. 7. This means that negotiations for the stimulus package are likely stalled until at least then.

One reason this is so infuriating to many Americans is that the Senate, the U.S. Congress and the White House had essentially agreed upon the stimulus check itself. It is to be worth up to $1,200 depending on gross annual income, with eligibility defined under similar parameters to the last round.

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Other aspects of the bill have held negotiations up since May. One of the major points is the enhanced unemployment insurance, which would be cut from $600 per week to $200 per week under the Republican plan. Meanwhile, Republicans are insisting on liability protections for businesses and other public spaces, so that they cannot be held responsible if someone contracts COVID-19 on their premises.

Congress is back in Washington, D.C. this weekend for an emergency hearing about the changes at the USPS. They may take some time to work on aspects of the stimulus bill with White House officials, but an official vote will not be possible until the Senate is back in session next month. Many Americans are calling on their representatives to return.