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Don't throw money away

If you get a check or a credit card in the mail, don’t throw it away.

It could be worth at least $1,400.

The IRS announced that most taxpayers will be getting the third round of stimulus payments through direct deposit starting last week.

But other taxpayers will be receiving debit cards and checks over the next few weeks, particularly those who haven’t set up direct deposit with the IRS.

President Joe Biden signed the new $1.9 trillion rescue package that included the stimulus payments March 11, the day after it won final passage in the House.

About 85% of Americans will be eligible for the payments. Last week, 90 million taxpayers had received automatic deposits of their stimulus payments.

In January, many taxpayers in Jackson County thought the debit cards were a scam during another round of stimulus payments and shredded the cards and threw them in the trash.

Once they found out their mistake, they had to call an 800 number to get a new card.

The new Visa Economic Impact Payment cards are again being issued from MetaBank, and they can be used like any other debit card. You can also withdraw the money from the card at an ATM at your bank.

The new blue card looks almost identical to the last one. The previous cards received in January won’t work with the latest stimulus payment. If you received a credit card in January, you’ll likely get a similar card in the coming weeks.

A relief check is also going out to some taxpayers. The check indicates it’s from the United States Treasury and has a drawing of the Statue of Liberty on it. It will have a note indicating it’s an “Economic Stimulus Payment” and will have your name and address on it.

With the January payment of $600 and the latest $1,400, that will be a total of $2,000 from the federal government since the beginning of the year. Every member of a family can get $1,400, or $5,600 for a family of four.

You can check your payment status with the “Get My Payment” tool at IRS.gov.

The IRS plans to issue an update in the near future as to when the credit cards or checks will be mailed out to taxpayers.

Income levels in this new round of stimulus payments have changed. Payments will begin to be reduced for individuals making $75,000 or above in adjusted gross income, or $150,000 for married filing jointly.

If you earn $80,000 or more for individuals, or $160,000 for married filing jointly, you will be ineligible for a payment.

In the interest of speeding up the relief payments, the IRS will use the latest tax return available, either the 2019 return filed last year or the 2020 return that is due by May 17.

If a person’s job situation changed last year because of the pandemic, officials said the IRS will adjust the size of the new impact payments after the 2020 return has been filed and provide a supplemental payment if necessary. Officials said those adjustments will be made automatically by the IRS for people who have already filed their 2020 returns.

The IRS will automatically send stimulus payments to people who didn’t file a return but receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits, railroad retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs benefits.

With tax filing season in full swing right now, the IRS has indicated it has the staff to handle refunds and stimulus payments at the same time.

“The payments will be delivered automatically to taxpayers even as the IRS continues delivering regular tax refunds,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.

Jamie Lusch / Mail TribuneThe IRS will start sending out checks and debit cards soon as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.