Who gets Maine’s $850 stimulus check? – Forbes Advisor
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To help residents deal with the high costs of inflation, Maine has started issuing $850 stimulus payments to qualified taxpayers.
As of June 24, stimulus checks have been sent to more than half of those who are eligible, with more on the way.
“As housing, food and energy costs have risen, stimulus checks will be a big help for low-income households struggling to cover higher costs,” says Sarah Austin, director Policy and Research at the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP).
Although nine other states have passed stimulus packages, Maine is offering its residents the highest payout. This emergency legislation is accompanied by a handful of other financial relief measures in the state’s Supplementary Budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year and is expected to impact 858,000 Maine residents.
What is Maine Direct Relief Payment?
Maine’s relief plan offers direct payments of $850 to individuals and $1,700 to joint filers.
These payments are intended to help residents cover necessities such as groceries, gas and utilities, according to the governor’s office, but residents can use the money for any purpose they choose.
According to the governor’s announcement, Maine residents must meet the following conditions to be eligible for the relief payment:
- File a Maine personal income tax return as a full-time resident by October 31, 2022.
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent on another resident’s tax return
- Have an Adjusted Federal Gross Income (FAGI) less than:
- $100,000 if single or married and filing separately
- $150,000 if filing as head of household
- $200,000 for couples filing jointly
When and how will payments be issued?
The Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) began issuing the first round of payments on June 1, 2022 through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Governor Mills said this initial delivery would include 5,000 checks and up to 200,000 would be sent each week thereafter.
In a statement provided to Forbes Advisor, the DAFS confirmed that the payments were being made on time. “As of June 24, 2022, 453,805 relief checks have been mailed with an additional 97,663 awaiting printing and/or mailing,” the agency said.
However, some delays were to be expected. A shortage of envelopes initially threatened to slow distribution, but the problem was reportedly resolved.
The majority of residents who have filed their state taxes for 2021 will receive their payments by the end of July, according to DAFS, and additional checks will be issued through the end of the year as they are processed. tax returns. Residents can visit Maine.gov and provide information, including their Social Security number, to check the status of their Maine stimulus check.
What if you haven’t received your payment?
Maine is in the process of issuing payments, so your check may be on the way. Residents who have not received their payment and are unable to track the status of their check may need to follow these steps:
File 2021 State Income Taxes (there’s still time)
Stimulus payments will not be issued to anyone who has not filed their 2021 state income tax returns. While Maine’s tax return filing deadline for 2021 has passed, residents can still file up to October 31, 2022 to receive a direct payment.
Those who don’t file regularly, including people who receive Social Security or SSI, must file a Form 1040ME and complete the appropriate sections of Schedule PTFC/STFC by Oct. 31 to receive their check.
Austin of the Maine Center for Economic Policy points out that low-income families are often cut off from stimulus payments, child tax credits and other tax benefits because they are less likely to file taxes. “The state has taken steps to overcome this, including funding a free tax preparation site,” she says. Free tax preparation help is available through cashmaine.org, 211maine.org or by calling 2-1-1.
The DAFS also indicates that this could be an opportunity to claim other state tax benefits for which you are eligible. “A Mainer who is generally a non-filer, for the purposes of claiming the $850, can follow the same process to claim the equity credits for property tax and sales tax, and [it] does not require them to file a federal return.
Update your address
Payment will be mailed to the address listed on your 2021 Maine personal income tax return and redirected to forwarding addresses on file with the USPS.
If you need to update the address you have on file with the Maine Revenue Services (MRS), you will need to submit proof of your new address, along with other identifying information such as your SSN, in writing. Instructions can be found on Maine.gov.
If you think your stimulus check was lost or stolen, contact Maine Tax Services at (207) 624-9924.
Stimulus check scams
Federal stimulus check scams have been rampant during the pandemic, and some Maine residents are being targeted by similar scams.
In May, the Attorney General’s Office and the Maine Tax Services issued an announcement warning that scammers were posing as “Maine IRS” agents to request Social Security numbers and other sensitive information.
Consumers should note that the Maine Revenue Service (MRS), which sends Maine’s stimulus payments, is a separate agency from the IRS.
The IRS is a federal agency and will not contact taxpayers about their state stimulus payments. The IRS also says it “will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email, text, or social media to request personal or financial information,” and that miscommunications, including misspellings and poor grammar, are common red flags for fraud.
In a May statement, Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey advised consumers to be on the lookout for such scams. “Do not share any identifying information with anyone requesting such information over the phone without independently confirming their identity,” he said.
Is more help coming for Maine residents?
After last year’s $285 payments from the state’s disaster relief program, Maine residents might wonder if the state-sponsored payments will become a recurring benefit.
According to Austin, the Mainers have no reason to expect another payout like this. Although the stimulus check is a response to economic conditions, it was created for another practical purpose. “Maine has budget rules like almost every other state that requires our budgets to be balanced,” she says.
More than half of the state budget surplus is devoted to the new recovery plan.
The new supplementary budget also includes other important one-time initiatives. Budget highlights include:
- Tax relief for those receiving a Maine retirement pension, including a phased increase in their annual deduction from the current limit of $10,000 to $35,000 in 2024.
- An increase to the Maine Property Tax Equity Credit, which will give approximately $1,000 per year in refundable tax credit to homeowners and up to $1,500 per year to senior homeowners.
- Two years of free community college for students affected by the pandemic
- Up to $2,500 per year, or $25,000 for life, in refundable tax credits for student debt relief
Austin says Maine also permanently doubled its Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
“[This] will have an average benefit for families of about $400 per year and will help about 100,000 households in the state,” she says. “This is a benefit that low-income families should be able to afford. expect in the future as long as they produce state income taxes. .”