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The Wall Street Journal

April 1, 2020, 9:10 p.m. EDT

Social Security recipients won’t need to file tax returns to get coronavirus stimulus check

Treasury Department reverses course on one-time payments

By Richard Rubin


Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

WASHINGTON — Social Security recipients won’t need to file tax returns to receive the $1,200 one-time payments authorized in the new economic-relief law, the Treasury Department said late Wednesday in a reversal of its prior position.

The move came after Democrats in Congress pressed the administration to find a way to get the payments to seniors who already receive direct deposits or checks from the federal government every month and don’t typically file tax returns.

“Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

The administration’s reversal is a signal of a challenge that will remain as the Internal Revenue Service tries to implement the law and get money to Americans quickly. The tax agency has little trouble keeping track of the Americans who file returns every year, but it now has to identify and pay millions who don’t.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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