indica News Bureau-
If you are a non-immigrant with an SSN and have filed your taxes for 2018 and/or 2019, expect to get a check credited to your bank account. Only those are categorized as ‘Resident Aliens’ by the IRS will receive this check. This excludes visiting parents, international students on F1 student visas and those non-immigrants that don’t have an SSN.
As part of the economic stimulus package called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H1-B visa holders, their dependents, and other non-immigrant visa holders in the United States are eligible to receive a stimulus check. The CARES Act is a one-time economic relief during the hardships of COVID-19. The U.S. government considers passing another bill to extend the CARES Act.
Over the last few weeks, thousands of foreign workers, including many living overseas, began receiving stimulus checks from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In some cases, those checks were issued in error. In other cases, the foreign workers, including H-1B workers, are entitled to receive these stimulus checks, reported MMH.
According to a report issued by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), certain nonimmigrants are in fact eligible to receive these stimulus checks pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In order to qualify for the stimulus check, the nonimmigrant would have to qualify as a “resident alien” under U.S. tax law, which is different from being considered a resident for U.S. immigration law.
In order to be considered a “resident alien” for tax purposes and for purposes of qualifying for the stimulus check, the nonimmigrant must be either a lawful permanent resident (i.e. a green card holder) or meet the “substantial presence test” under the tax law, which requires being physically present in the U.S. on at least:
1. 31 days during the current year; and
2. 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting:
a. All the days you were present in the current year; and
b. 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year; and
c. 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.
Thus, H-1B workers who meet the “resident alien” test above by having been physically present in the U.S. for the requisite period of time may be eligible to receive stimulus checks.
The average Social Security payment which means the stimulus payments — $1,200 for single taxpayers earning less than $75,000 per year and $2,400 for married couples with earnings below $2,400 — would represent a large chunk of income.
The IRS began distributing checks the week of April 13, 2020, and they will continue to be sent out in waves through September 2020. If you don’t receive the check in the next couple of weeks, first make sure that you are eligible and if you are, just wait patiently.
The IRS will deposit the stimulus check to your U.S. bank account using the direct deposit information on your 2018 or 2019 income tax return. The IRS will have an online portal available to those who did not file their federal tax return online or did not receive a federal tax refund to their bank account. If you do not opt-in for direct deposit, the check will be sent in the mail.