Accounting Aid’s Response to Covid-19: Updates and Assistance
Updated September 10, 2020
Beginning September 24, the IRS will be mailing letters (IRS Notice 1444-A) to people who haven’t filed a return for 2018 or 2019 and may be eligible for, but have not registered to claim, an Economic Impact Payment. If those receiving letters haven’t already done so, the letter urges eligible individuals to register by October 15, 2020 for a payment using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool. The letter will be mailed from an IRS address and a copy of the letter is available on the IRS website for verification.
Following Michigan’s shelter-in-place order, all in person tax site operations for Accounting Aid Society are currently paused. In the meantime, we are piloting online methods of tax preparation assistance for previously scheduled clients. As soon as we are confident these services may be offered with appropriate security and client privacy, we intend to scale up in order to serve as many taxpayers as we have the capacity to do so. Information and capacity are constantly evolving in the current environment, so please continue to check back here for ongoing updates, service offerings, resources and information.
WAYS WE CAN HELP YOU
Accounting Aid offers 2 free programs to complete your return online yourself. Review the options that best fit your situation. Note that support IS available via our Help Hotline:
Option 1: Do your taxes for free
- IRS Free File Program Delivered by TurboTax – a free service to individuals with an adjusted gross income of $36,000 or less ($69,000 for active military, or anyone who qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit). This service includes free online filing of federal, state, and local (city) income taxes. For additional support, watch the TurboTax overview video here.
- My Free Taxes by H&R Block – free filing of federal and state income taxes for individuals with incomes less than $66,000. Please note this program does not include local (city) returns
- Non-Filers: Enter Payment Information – If you don’t usually file a return, you can complete this free online form so the IRS can determine your eligibility, payment amount and send your Economic Impact Payment. If you choose this option, you will still need to file a Michigan return to receive a Homestead Property Tax Credit (renters rebate), and file a Michigan Home Heating Credit form if you typically receive these credits.
HELP HOTLINE: If you have questions working with tax software or entering your payment information, we have a hotline that is staffed Monday through Friday from 12:30 pm to 6 pm. To reach the hotline, call us at: 1-844-806-5780.
Option 2: Use our new VITA ACE (Accessible, Convenient, Electronic) program
Make an online appointment to have Accounting Aid Society complete your federal, state and city returns at no cost. This IRS-approved program uses phone calls and secure file transfer to prepare your return. You will need a computer, tablet or smartphone with internet access. Learn more about VITA ACE, how it works and what you’ll need to get started by visiting the webpage or by downloading the shareable PDF.
- 2019 Federal, State and city of Detroit income tax filing – July 15, 2020
- 2019 City income tax filing (all other cities including Highland Park, Hamtramck, and Pontiac) – July 31st, 2020
- 2019 Michigan Home Heating Credit – September 30, 2020
- Last day for households to self-respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone or by mail – September 30, 2020
- 2019 Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credits can be claimed through April 15, 2024
- Registration deadline for non-filers to claim an Economic Impact Payment through the Non-Filers Tool – October 15, 2020
ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT FAQ
Who is eligible for the Economic Impact Payment?
U.S. citizens or resident aliens who:
- Have a valid Social Security number,
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and
- Had adjusted gross income under certain limits.
Who will receive the Economic Impact Payment automatically without taking additional steps?
- Individuals who filed a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019
- Individuals who receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits
- Individuals who receive Railroad Retirement benefits
- Individuals who receive SSI
- Veterans Affairs recipients
What if none of the above apply to me?
How do I check the status of my payment?
Check the status of your Economic Impact Payment here. The link will give you information about:
- Your payment status
- Your payment type
- Whether the IRS needs more information from you, including bank account information.
The IRS is processing payments in groups over the next several weeks, so you may get a message saying “payment status not available”. That simply means your group has not been processed yet.
Where can I find my Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)?
- On your 2019 tax return, your AGI can be found on line 8b of Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.
- On your 2018 tax return, your AGI can be found on line 7 of the Form 1040.
How will the IRS know where to send my payment?
- The Economic Impact Payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on your tax return or social security account.
- If you did not use direct deposit, the IRS will mail the payment to the address on file with the IRS or social security office.
- If you want to open a bank account, Accounting Aid recommends using accounts meeting the Bank On National Account Standards and can be opened online here.
- If your address has changed, file a change of address through the post office as soon as possible. Currently the IRS is not processing change of address requests through their system.
- Beginning May 18th, the IRS and Treasury will be sending nearly 4 million stimulus payments on prepaid Visa debit cards to eligible recipients who haven’t received their check yet. Recipients can use the prepaid cards online, at ATMs and at any in-store location where Visa is accepted. The cards will be mailed by MetaBank, and each mailing will include instructions. Visit the EIP card website for more information on how to activate and use the card, or call Accounting Aid Society at (313) 556-1920 for questions and assistance.
What do I do if I didn’t receive the qualifying child portion of the Economic Impact Payment (EIP)?
For people with qualifying children who receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement benefits and Veterans Affairs Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefits and did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and:
- Used the IRS Non-FIler tool before May 17, 2020 and claimed at least 1 qualifying child, no further action is required. The IRS will automatically begin issuing $500 per qualifying child in mid-August.
- HAVE NOT used the Non-Filers tool to provide information on your qualifying child, provide your information online by September 30 using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool (anyone who filed or plans to file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return should file the tax return and not use this tool).
Does someone who died qualify for an Economic Impact Payment?
No. An Economic Impact Payment made to someone who has passed away before receiving the payment should be returned to the IRS.
What should I do to return an Economic Impact Payment to the IRS?
If the payment was a paper check, write “void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check. Mail the voided check, along with a written note stating your reason for returning the check (do not bend, staple or paperclip the check).
If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it OR if the payment was a direct deposit, write a personal check or money order made payable to the U.S. Treasury. Write “2020EIP” and the social security number or individual taxpayer identification number of the recipient of the check on the memo line. Mail the personal check or money order along with a written note stating your reason for returning the payment.
If you live in Michigan, mail your items to:
Kansas City Internal Revenue Service
333 W Pershing Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
If you live in a different state, you can find the appropriate mailing address under Q54 here.
- Where’s My Refund? an online tool that will allow you to track the status of your refund. To do so, you’ll need your Social Security Number of Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, filing status, and exact refund amount. Typically, your status will be available 24 hours after e-filing or 4 weeks after you mailed your return.
- IRS2Go Mobile App – the official mobile app of the IRS that allows you to check your refund, make a payment, find free tax preparation assistance and sign up for tax tips and information.
- Property Tax Exemptions – If you’re a Detroit homeowner struggling to pay your property taxes, you may be eligible for a Property Tax Exemption for 2019. 2020 Property Tax Exemption applications are required to be filed by December 14, 2020. Visit the City of Detroit’s Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program (HPTAP) website for more information
- The Michigan COVID-19 Pandemic Resource Guide -information on programs aimed at supporting Michigan residents during the coronavirus pandemic, with a special section for programs serving Detroit residents
- DTE Energy is extending shut-off protections, offering billing assistance and sharing energy savings tips to help during the pandemic. Visit DTE’s website to learn more and reach out directly with your questions and concerns.
- Scams – If you receive calls, emails, text messages or any form of communication claiming to be from the Treasury Department, IRS or government offering coronavirus grants or payments in exchange for personal financial information or for a fee, do not respond. These are scams. Report scam attempts here.
- BCBSM Tool Kit – To help communities inform their residents about the coronavirus, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan developed an online tool kit that provides resources and comprehensive information about COVID-19 symptoms, prevention and protection. Some of these resources include food relief, health and wellness, and mental health assistance.