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IRS contacting 9 million Americans who may qualify for stimulus check

Winners and losers in COVID economy
Winners and losers in COVID economy 09:03

The IRS next week is scheduled to begin reaching out to 9 million Americans who may be eligible for a federal stimulus check but who have yet to claim the coronavirus relief payment. 

The agency says it will begin mailing letters to people who may qualify for the money on September 24, which will inform recipients that they could be eligible for a payment if they meet certain criteria, such as if they are a citizen or a resident alien and have a valid Social Security number. 

Washington, D.C., has the highest share of residents who may be entitled to the money, at 4.8%, according to a CBS MoneyWatch analysis of the state data issued by the IRS. Alaska is second, with about 4.2% of the state's residents slated to receive a letter from the tax agency asking them to claim the money. 

California has the most residents who may be eligible for, but have yet to claim, a stimulus check, at 1.2 million, followed by Texas (796,000), Florida (567,000), New York (538,000) and Georgia (349,000).

"We are releasing this state-by-state information so that state and local leaders and organizations can better understand the size of this population in their communities and assist them in claiming these important payments," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement on Friday. "Time is running out to claim a payment before the deadline."

The stimulus checks targeted middle- and low-income households by providing $1,200 for single taxpayers, $2,400 for married couples and $500 per child under 17 years old. To deliver the checks as quickly as possible, the IRS relied on taxpayers' most recent tax returns, which included either banking details for direct deposit or home addresses for paper checks. 

Now, IRS wants to reach people who may have missed out on getting the stimulus payments because they don't file a federal tax return. The agency said that people have until October 15 to register for IRS.gov's "non-filer tool" to receive their payments by year-end. About 160 million taxpayers have received the payments, which were designed to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the IRS said. 

Trump signs COVID relief executive orders 32:10

The letters will come from an IRS address and are sent to people who haven't filed a return in either 2018 or 2019. The tax agency said its internal analysis found that these tend to be Americans who have very low incomes, such as seniors who rely solely on Social Security for their income. 

People can provide their bank account information to the agency when they use the non-filters tool, which will allow the IRS to wire them the money by year-end. People who don't provide bank information will receive a check by mail. 

The IRS has cautioned that receiving a letter about registering by October 15 isn't a guarantee that someone is eligible to get a stimulus check. Some people are excluded from the payments, such immigrants without a Green Card and those who are incarcerated. 

Although many Americans may be able to claim their so-called Economic Impact Payment, the odds of another round of stimulus checks going this year are fading, according to Goldman Sachs. Another relief package before the election looks like a "long shot," analysts with the investment bank said in a report Friday.

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