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Tax Tips for U.S. Americans Abroad

How to Get Stimulus Payment as a US Expat

Get Stimulus Payment as a US Expat

As we have mentioned in our coronavirus and stimulus payment eligibility blog, the US government has issued checks of $1,200 or more to US citizens who fall within certain requirements. This includes Americans living abroad – meaning, you can receive money to spend and gain an additional $500 if you have qualifying children.

Now, what happens when you figure out you are eligible as an American expat, and want to get your Stimulus payment as soon as possible? Below we showcase basic support and updates, plus a personal example of what an American abroad did to receive her stimulus check, so you can too.

Basic Information About US Stimulus Payment

US citizens will be able to benefit from a $1,200 check or more within the following conditions:

  • You filed a 2018/2019 US tax return for the IRS
  • Are not dependent of another taxpayer
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Have 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

US Taxpayers Above the AGI Threshold

If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is over the US Stimulus payment threshold ($75,000) you can still receive a check – but it will be reduced according to your AGI. 

Social Security Recipients Information 

If you are a SS recipient who receives monthly deposits from the US government, you are typically not required to file a US tax return and need not take any action. You should be able to receive your Stimulus check exactly how you normally receive your benefits.

Didn’t file a Tax Return? 

  • If you didn’t file your 2019 tax return: Take advantage of the MyExpatTaxes software and file before July 15th! 
  • If you didn’t file for previous years (2018 and before): You can utilize the MyExpatTaxes Streamlined Procedure package and become tax compliant for the IRS. Once you’re tax compliant, the IRS will send you your check.
  • If your worldwide income was lower than the tax filing threshold: You can still receive the Stimulus check by applying as a non-filer as a US citizen abroad. You can use the IRS Non-Filer portal to file, but we recommend using our service since it’s set up exclusively for US expats.

Example Timeline of Getting the US Stimulus Check

One of our team members went through the entire process and got her US economic stimulus check. This is what she did:

  1. eFiled through the MyExpatTaxes tax software on April 12, 2020.
  2. Within the filing process, she added a US address on Form 1040 for the IRS to send her check to, and her foreign address on Form 2555 (Foreign Earned Income form).
  3. She utilized a special feature only MyExpatTaxes has for their American abroad customers: Adding a US bank account for direct deposit even though she was not entitled to a refund.
  4. A few days later after submitting her forms via the MyExpatTaxes software, she started checking the IRS Get My Payment Tool everyday. This was to see what her status was regarding her Stimulus Check. It only took a few minutes of her time, since all she needed to enter was her social security number, birth date, address and postal code.
  5. On April 20, 2020, when she used the IRS tool again, the IRS stated that her payment was scheduled to be deposited in her listed US bank account on April 29, 2020. Her US stimulus payment was deposited successfully in her US bank account on April 29, 2020.
IRS Payment Status Confirmation
IRS Payment Status Confirmation
Deposit of ¢1,200 from IRS Stimulus Check
Deposit of ¢1,200 from IRS Stimulus Check

Need a US bank account to receive the check? Opening a US bank account via Transferwise is a good idea.

US Expat Stimulus Payment Updates

With constant flooding of new information through expat forums and Facebook groups, this is what we know for sure, officially from the IRS:

  • April 2020: US Expats who electronically filed 2018/2019 tax forms and listed a US address and US bank account on their forms will see their payment deposited in the bank account.
  • May 2020: US expats who have both US and Foreign addresses will receive paper checks sent to the address listed on their Form 1040. For taxpayers, the last chance to get a direct deposit of their Stimulis check insead of receiving a paper check is May 13.

Get Your US Stimulus Payment ASAP

Our team is ready to help you as an American abroad receive the US stimulus check as soon as possible. If you haven’t filed your US taxes already, do try out our expat tax software.

If you have any more questions, our team can support you. Do drop us a line in the comments below. Or if you want a faster response, click on our chat button on the bottom right hand of the screen and someone will assist you as soon as possible.

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  1. Avatar James Peppard on June 12, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    I am an expat living in Costa Rica.

    I want to get my ‘Stimulus payment’ to be deposited with Direct Deposit, the same as my monthly Social Security payments.

    I find that I Do Not need to file a new tax return, and the IRS won’t accept, as I already get Direct Deposits here
    in Costa Rica, from Social Security.


    So, How can I get paid the money that I am entitled to???

    Can You Help?? I also have a 16 yr old son, and $500. is entitled for a payment for his support also…

    Please Help me with information and services if you can. \

    Thank You So Very Much..

    James Peppard

    • Michelle H. Michelle H. on June 17, 2020 at 11:43 am

      Hi James,
      We know it’s very frustrating! You should receive a paper check soon by the IRS, if it’s not being deposited in your foreign account. You can read more about that here.

  2. Avatar Candee on June 22, 2020 at 9:48 am

    Hi. I received a letter dated May 1 stating that I would receive a stimulus check, but as of June 22, I haven’t received anything. I checked the portal and it states “we scheduled your check to be mailed on May 1, 2020 to the address on file for you”. I live in the Netherlands – how long do I wait before I assume the check has been lost in the mail? And what options are available to report a lost check?

    • Michelle H. Michelle H. on June 23, 2020 at 10:07 am

      Hi Candee,
      Unfortunately we are not responsible for knowing or sending your Stimulus check. You’ll need to check the updates frequently on the IRS page to check the mailing status and see how you can report a lost check.

  3. Avatar Gary on June 26, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    I am a UK dual citizen and haven’t filed US returns. Would I qualify for stimulus payment if I filed 2019 and streamlined 2016-18? I will probably need an extension on 2019 as I am still awaiting my daughters SSN due to COVID delays in London. Or do I simply file 2017-19 streamlined after 15 July?


    • Michelle H. Michelle H. on June 30, 2020 at 9:34 am

      Hi Gary,

      You would need to file the Streamlined package – the 2019 tax year won’t end until December 15th!

  4. Avatar Maya on June 26, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Dear My Expat Taxes,

    I am an expat living in The Netherlands, and perhaps one of the lucky few who actually received a Stimulus check. I no longer have a bank account in the US. Do you perhaps have any advice regarding whether it is possible to deposit the check into an NL bank account.

    Thanks very much,

    • Michelle H. Michelle H. on June 29, 2020 at 1:40 pm

      Hi Maya,
      You will first need to contact the bank and see what they say. We cannot, unfortunately, offer any other advice except that you need to speak with the bank people to see what options are available. I’m sorry we couldn’t be of any more help…

  5. Avatar Douglas Dobbs on June 29, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Hello Again, I wrote you earlier. We are retired and receive Social Security . We are both over 65. I make under the 13,300.00 filing requirement but over the 12,200 that I hear as the reporting threshold. If we filed jointly we are way under the threshold. What can go wrong in our situation.
    Thank You,
    Doug and Sandi

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

      Hi Douglas,

      Nothing we can think of!

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