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Stimulus checks: Will they help or hurt?

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Ozarks First’s Madison Hever has been doing research on the stimulus checks Americans will be receiving from the government.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says that $1,200 check, for most people, could be directly deposited within three weeks.

“Now we’ve got a very strong economy that people have been asked to withdraw from or chosen to withdraw from or advised to withdraw from and we need to figure out what we need to do about that,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri).

Congress officially passed the cares act which puts money directly into your bank account. These checks are meant to stimulate the economy.

“What this is is actually an advance on the amount of money that people will be getting next year,” said Tiffany Cossey, accounting associate professor at Drury. “What congress has done is that they have given an additional tax credit that people don’t normally get and when people file their tax return for 2020, they’re going to be claiming this tax credit.”

For those worried that the check might take the place of your tax refunds this year, Cossey says that is not the case.

“It’s not against the money you would normally get when you file a return,” Cossey said. “There could be some life changes that could cause some kind of change but this specific tax credit and this specific stimulus check that’s an advance against that tax credit should not cause a change in next year’s tax refund.”

Cossey says if you want your stimulus check, you need to file your taxes.

“The other big take away is to make sure that if you have not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 it might be a good idea to go ahead and do that so that you can get your stimulus check as quickly as possible because that’s what the government is using to send out that first round of checks,” Cossey said.

Even if you feel like this might be a scam, it’s not.

“It shouldn’t hurt you,” Cossey said. “There will be a new line on your tax return but assuming that your circumstances haven’t really changed, your tax refund should remain just about the same.”

While stimulus checks from the government aren’t a scam, Cossey says to watch out for people that may try to get you to give over your social security number or may even ask you to pay for your check upfront, those are scams.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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