On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This unprecedented stimulus package is a $2 Trillion Dollar economic recovery package giving financial relief to state and local governments, individuals, businesses, and hospitals affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
As part of the Act, individuals may receive a one-time payment, called a recovery rebate or a stimulus check. Eligible individuals with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 can receive a one-time payment of $1,200. Married couples filing a joint tax return are eligible to receive a payment of $2,400, as long as their adjusted gross income is less than $150,000. Eligible individuals may also receive an additional $500 for each eligible child under the age of 17. The recovery rebates are automatically advanced to eligible individuals based on their filed 2019 filed tax returns. If the individual has yet to file their 2019 taxes, they will use 2018 tax returns.
Only individuals with valid Social Security numbers and people who qualify as “resident aliens” as defined by IRS rules and regulations are eligible for the recovery rebate. Therefore, Green Card holders and immigrants who meet the substantial presence test will be eligible for the rebate.
Green card holders, regardless of their current physical location, continue to have a U.S. resident status until they voluntarily renounce and abandon their status in writing to USCIS or until their immigrant status has been administratively terminated by USCIS, by an Immigration Judge, or a Federal Court.
An immigrant will be considered a United States resident for tax purposes, and therefore received a stimulus check, if they meet the substantial presence test for the calendar year. To meet this test, the individual must be physically present in the United States on at least 31 days during the current year, and 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that. If you are a Non-Green Card Holder, please contact your accountant or tax attorney for clarification as to whether you qualify as a US resident for tax purposes.
Those who file taxes using an Individual taxpayer Identification Number (ITTIN) are not eligible for a recovery rebate. The Act also states that a US Citizen or someone otherwise eligible for the stimulus check will not receive the recovery rebate if they filed jointly with their spouse who has an ITTN number or if they filed with a child who has an ITTIN number.
Immigrants with pending green card applications will not be found as being inadmissible on public charge grounds as tax credits are not taken into consideration for purposes of a public charge determination.