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Tax Tips for U.S. Americans Abroad

US Expat Stimulus Check Survey Results

US Expat Stimulus Check Survey Results

When the United States government passed the stimulus check law in late March, it was off to the races for US taxpayers to receive their funds.

MyExpatTaxes, the leading US Expat Tax Software, wondered how successful Americans Abroad were in actually receiving this promised aide? They sent out a survey in mid-May, and hundreds of US expats shared their feedback to give you a quick snapshot of what is really happening outside the 50 states.

Key Takeaways from Survey Participants

  • 62% already filed their 2019 tax return.
  • 29% have received their stimulus payments
  • 57% of those who received their stimulus payment reported that it took more than two weeks after filing their 2019 tax return to get it, with the majority stating it took at least four weeks or longer.

Are US Expats Actually Receiving Their Stimulus Payments from the IRS?

  • Less than one-third of US expats received their stimulus check to date (29%).
  • The results are even grimmer for Americans Abroad who are not filing their annual tax returns timely every year. 93% of US expats that did not already have a 2018 tax return on file are still waiting for their financial assistance fund.

US Expats Who Filed 2019 US Taxes Between February and May

Here are the current survey results regarding Americans abroad filing between the months of February and May. Plus, whether they received their US expat stimulus check or not:

  • US Expats who filed in February: 77% of US expat respondents who filed in this period already received their stimulus payment. 
  • US Expats who filed in March: 48% of US expat respondents who filed in this period already received their stimulus payment. 
  • US Expats who filed in April: Only 38% of US expat respondents who filed in this period already received their stimulus payment. 
  • US Expats who filed in May: A mere 19% who filed in the first two weeks of May already received their stimulus payment. 

Stimulus Check Issues for Expats

Still, checking the IRS Get My Payment to find your scheduled payment date? Join the majority of 65% of US expats who have yet to see their information available in the IRS tool. Here is more feedback from stimulus check process:

Top Concerns from US Expats Using IRS Get My Payment Portal:

  • Seeing ”payment status not available’’ after putting in personal information.
  • Missing options to input correct data (ie: foreign address, bank account details).
  • The portal was not accepting foreign addresses due to different foreign zip codes and lettering (ie: ö, ä).
  • Receiving the payment via direct deposit or paper check without being able to confirm their payment details on the IRS portal.

Top Concerns from US Expats Regarding Their Stimulus Check:

  • Unable to deposit the check through a foreign bank account
  • The check was sent to an address from the 2018 tax return, and not the recipient’s current address.
  • The IRS says the check was sent but the recipient didn’t receive it
  • Recipients are unsure of what to do having a check with no US bank account

Additionally, others were claimed accidentally as a dependent and thus couldn’t receive the check.

Eligibility for US Stimulus Checks

The United States government continues to issue stimulus checks (Economic Impact Payments) to US citizens and Green card holders during the pandemic.

They are payments of $1,200 or more and are only for individuals that fall within a certain monetary threshold:

U.S. residents will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers, and $2,400 for married filing jointly if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have an eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:

$75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for head of household filers and $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns.

Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is over $75,000. 

The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayers specific adjusted gross income.

Additionally, American family members qualify to receive an additional $500 per qualifying child. This is an extra bonus that can help during these trying times.

Additional Information To Be Eligible:

From our blog, Stimulus Payments for US Expats:

  1. You need a 2018/2019 tax return on file for the IRS to know your eligibility and where to deliver the funds (US bank or mailing address for paper checks).
  2. If your worldwide income was under the filing threshold and you didn’t file, you will still need to file a tax return. This is so the IRS has your information for the payments.
  3. Eligibility to receive the $1,200+ payments depend on your income and if you had a valid US social security number in time.

Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return do not need to take any action. They will receive their 1200 dollar checks directly to their bank account by paper check. Just as they would normally receive their benefits.

Get Your IRS Stimulus Payment ASAP

The deadline to file US taxes for this year is July 15th, 2020. If you as a US citizen abroad or green card holder and need to catch up on back taxes, make sure to take advantage of the Streamlining Foreign Compliance Procedure outlined here.

E-file your 2019 taxes with MyExpatTaxes! Add your foreign address or US bank details to your return to ensure you get the $1,200 Stimulus Payment you are entitled to.

Need to file for an extension? You can do so for free via our expat tax software. Just sign in, give us consent to file on your behalf, and then fill in the appropriate information. It’s that easy!

Filing taxes for stimulus check is the way to go. We are the most efficient and affordable expat tax software. We will make sure you as an American expat file quickly to receive your stimulus check.

Ready to get started?

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  1. Avatar Michael Ramos on May 29, 2020 at 12:03 am

    Hi Michelle – is it possible to see more details from the survey such as the exact questions asked and the number of responses to each answer?

  2. Avatar vittorio on June 1, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    Hello….I have read conflicting information as to whether or not I am entitled to a check. I am an expat American citizen and file tax returns every year. I have a SSN but my wife, a Ukrainian citizen, has an ITIN.

    Some information says that because of her ITIN, I will not get a check. Others have said that they have gotten checks in the same circumstances.

    A clarification please, if one exists.


    • Michelle H. Michelle H. on June 2, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Hi Vittorio,

      According to the IRS FAQ: When spouses file jointly, both spouses must have valid SSNs to receive a Payment with one exception. If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN.

      If spouses file separately, the spouse who has an SSN may qualify for a Payment; the other spouse without a valid SSN will not qualify.

  3. Avatar John Rosen on June 1, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    I am a recpient of social secutity benefits via direct deposit to a US bank account. I file US income taxes every year. I havent changed address in 17 years. I live in Spain. I understood my stimulus check would be direct deposited. In May, the website said my check was being mailed (?) on or about May 8. It is June 1. No check by mail, no direct deposit.

  4. Avatar Douglas Dobbs on June 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Hello Michelle,
    My wife and I are not required to file taxes and receive our monthly SSA by direct deposit. We have not received the stimulus payment. Is there information about expats in our situation?
    Waiting Patiently, Doug and Sandi

    • Michelle H. Michelle H. on June 2, 2020 at 9:13 am

      Hi Doug and Sandi,

      We’re sorry to hear you didn’t receive your check yet. According to our Stimulus Payment blog here, it is also unclear at this point if the IRS will do a direct deposit into a foreign bank account, however, we assume not. You will most likely receive a paper check, which can take a while. Do check out the blog post, and read the comments below as many expats are in the same boat as you and have provided additional suggestions.

      • Avatar Douglas Dobbs on June 3, 2020 at 7:27 pm

        Thank you for your reply, When you say mail a check, where do they mail it to exactly? We moved to our new address last August and notified Social Security of our new address but the bank is in the previous town we moved from.
        Doug and Sandi

  5. Avatar AL on June 5, 2020 at 4:22 am

    I am a US citizen living abroad, have filed my taxes for the last 4 years, I have received the Stimulus cheque in the Mail, my Aus Bank will take the cheque, however, I am nervous to cash it. I am eligible for the cheque, I have gone through ALL the requirements and made sure.
    However, will the IRS ever backtrack and want the money back? the IRS makes me nervous, to begin with

    • Michelle H. Michelle H. on June 5, 2020 at 11:53 am

      Hi Al,

      Your stimulus check is not taxable income for the US/IRS, so you don’t need to give the money back to them later 🙂 Enjoy the cheque!

    • Avatar Mike on June 12, 2020 at 2:09 am

      I’m an expatriate living in the Philippines and receiving ssdi. I have a Philippine address but my ssdi is deposited into my us bank account. I’m wondering if I qualify at all. Any ideas why I haven’t gotten my stimulus check?

      • Michelle H. Michelle H. on June 17, 2020 at 11:40 am

        Hi Mike,

        You should be able to qualify to receive the check, but it is unclear at this point if the IRS will do a direct deposit into a foreign bank account, however, we assume not. Do take a look at this post, where we explain more about the US Stimulus Check and eligibility.

  6. Avatar Siobhan on June 28, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    I’m an ex pat retired in Ireland. I declare my Social Security pension income and pay income tax to Irish Revenue Commissioner at a rate of 40%. . I do not file income tax return to IRS under a double taxation agreement Ireland (and many other countries) have with USA)
    Am I entitled to stimulus payment. My SS is lodged directly to my Irish Bank Account.

    • Michelle H. Michelle H. on June 30, 2020 at 9:35 am

      Hi Siobhan,

      According to the official statements and FAQ from the IRS and SSA: Yes, you are!

  7. Avatar Hoda abou heidar on July 5, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Hi i received the stimulus check via us embassy in Lebanon but no Lebanese bank accept to deposit this check into my account what should I do? The us government is well aware of this and many expats are facing the same problem . Shouldn’t they resolve this issue and instruct banks to accept it

    • Michelle H. Michelle H. on July 6, 2020 at 8:28 pm

      Hi Hoda, we’re sorry but at this time there is nothing we can do. What we can say is to please check updates on the IRS Economic Impact Payment Information Center to see the latest news and options for expats.

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