Expensive Penny: We Haven’t Filed Taxes. Do We Get Coronavirus Checks?

Expensive Penny,

My boyfriend hasn’t filed a tax return in many years, and I’ve been an unbiased contractor since 2017. 

I haven’t filed, however I've three years of 1099s. I’m submitting ASAP. We've a baby, and he's a stay-at-home dad. I’m head of family. 

I’m not working as a result of COVID-19. I groom canines as an unbiased contractor and he informally assists me. 

I want the stimulus cash for him to cowl his dwelling bills, however we aren’t married. 

Can I declare him as a dependent? I pay his bank cards from my checking account. If not, how does one get a stimulus examine for somebody that hasn’t filed taxes in years however lives within the family and I’m financially answerable for?

-A.

Expensive A.,

First off, I’m glad to listen to you’re submitting your taxes ASAP. Submitting a return for 2018 or 2019 is important so you will get the $1,200 coronavirus stimulus fee for your self into your personal pocket rapidly. Supplied that your baby is below 17, it is best to get an extra $500 baby coronavirus stimulus credit score, so your profit might be $1,700.

As on your boyfriend, the answer is a bit more difficult. Are you able to declare him as a dependent? It appears like he meets all the necessities. However is it your only option? Perhaps not. Doing so gained’t get you extra stimulus cash, however extra on that shortly.

First, let’s speak concerning the guidelines for claiming somebody who’s not your baby as a dependent: She or he have to be a citizen of the U.S., Canada or Mexico, and meet all 4 of the next exams: 

They will’t have revenue over $four,200 for the 2019 tax yr. You will need to present no less than half of their help, even when he receives public help like SNAP advantages or housing help. They should stay in your house for the entire tax yr. And also you have to be the one one that can declare that individual as a dependent.

So it appears like your boyfriend qualifies as your dependent. However chances are you'll not need to listing him as such.

If you happen to declare your boyfriend as your dependent, his stimulus fee might be precisely $zero. You wouldn’t get the extra $500 for him, since you solely obtain this for dependent youngsters 16 or youthful. 

In your boyfriend to get the $1,200 fee, he’ll need to file his personal tax return — with out you claiming him as a dependent. This can be the higher transfer. 

However earlier than I'm going additional, let me provide the customary disclaimer about how I’m not a CPA or a tax lawyer, and I’m not certified to present tax recommendation on your particular scenario. So contemplate this basic details about taxes.

One huge incentive for claiming somebody as a dependent went away in 2018. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspended the non-public exemption, which beforehand allow you to knock $four,050 off your tax invoice for every dependent you would declare. 

Because you’re submitting as head of family — a standing sometimes reserved for single mother and father whose youngsters stay with them for greater than half the yr — claiming your boyfriend as a dependent has no impact. In your case, you qualify for this standing since you’re not married and have a baby. 

Claiming your boyfriend as a dependent might mean you can get a $500 tax credit score that’s unrelated to the coronavirus reduction bundle. However placing on my Captain Apparent hat right here: $1,200 is greater than $500, so that you may come out forward if he information his personal return.

Your boyfriend can nonetheless file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, even when he experiences his revenue as $zero. 

In regular occasions, I’d counsel searching for out your native Volunteer Earnings Tax Help (VITA) workplace for help if you haven’t filed a return in a number of years. It’s a free tax help useful resource operated by the IRS. However these are coronavirus occasions, and sadly, many VITA workplaces are closed. 

You should use the VITA locator instrument at irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/ to see if there’s an workplace open close to you. You too can use one of many many free submitting assets out there at IRS.gov to organize your return without spending a dime.

For anybody studying this who’s questioning the best way to get their coronavirus examine rapidly, the reply most definitely boils all the way down to: Go forth and file your 2018 or 2019 tax return.

Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder and the voice behind Expensive Penny. Ship your difficult cash inquiries to [email protected]

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