IR-2021-87, April 15, 2021
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today continued an ongoing effort to help those experiencing homelessness during the pandemic by reminding people who don’t have a permanent address or a bank account that they may still qualify for Economic Impact Payments and other tax benefits.
While Economic Impact Payments continue to be made automatically to most people, the IRS can’t issue a payment to eligible Americans when information about them isn’t available in the tax agency’s systems.
To help people experiencing homelessness, the rural poor and other historically under-served groups, the IRS urges community groups, employers and others to share information about Economic Impact Payments and help more eligible people file a tax return so they can receive everything they’re entitled to. IRS.gov has a variety of information and tools to help people receive the Economic Impact Payments.
“The IRS has been continuing to work directly with groups inside and outside the tax community to get information directly to people experiencing homelessness and other groups to help them receive Economic Impact Payments,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The IRS is working hard on this effort, enabling millions of people who don’t normally file a tax return to receive these payments. But we need to do more, and we appreciate all the help we’ve been receiving from national and local groups to assist in this effort to reach the people who desperately need this help.”
Economic Impact Payments, also known as stimulus payments, are different from most other tax benefits; people can get the payments even if they have little or no income and even if they don’t usually file a tax return. This is true as long as they have a Social Security number and are not being supported by someone else who can claim them as a dependent.
The IRS needs information from people who don’t usually file a tax return – even if they did not have any income last year or their income was not large enough to require them to file. The only way for the agency to have that information is for people to file a basic 2020 tax return with the IRS. Once that return is processed, the IRS can quickly send stimulus payments to an address selected by the eligible individual. People do not need a permanent address or a bank account. They don’t need to have a job. For eligible individuals, the IRS will still issue the payment even if they haven’t filed a tax return in years.
People in this group can still qualify for the first two Economic Impact Payments when they file their 2020 return by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit. There’s a special section on IRS.gov that can help: Claiming the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit if you aren’t required to file a tax return. For the current third round of payments, people who are experiencing homelessness usually qualify to receive $1,400 for themselves. If they are married or have dependents, they can get an additional $1,400 for each of their family members.
Filing a 2020 federal income tax return that provides very basic information about the person is something that can be done electronically using a smartphone or a computer. When the IRS receives the return, it will automatically calculate and issue the Economic Impact Payments to eligible individuals.
Permanent address not required
People can claim an Economic Impact Payment or other credits even if they don’t have a permanent address. For example, someone experiencing homelessness may list the address of a friend, relative or trusted service provider, such as a shelter, drop-in day center or transitional housing program, on the return filed with the IRS. If they are unable to choose direct deposit, a check or debit card for the tax refund and the third Economic Impact Payment can then be mailed to this address.
Individuals experiencing homelessness can receive the EITC
A worker experiencing homelessness can get an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). To get the credit, federal law requires that a worker live in the U.S. for more than half of the year and meet other requirements. This means living in a home in any of the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Therefore, individuals experiencing homelessness, including those who reside at one or more homeless shelters, can meet that requirement.
No bank account? No problem
Many financial institutions will help a person lacking an account to open a low-cost or no-cost bank account. Individuals who open accounts will then have an account and routing number available when they file and claim a direct deposit of the Economic Impact Payment.