Checks are in the mail, but stimulus changes in the law could get complicated

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Many of us are already receiving our stimulus checks- just a few days after President Biden signed the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan.

The $1,400 checks are meant to boost the economy, but the new law also brings complications.

The stimulus checks the government has issued in the last year to bring the economy back from the COVID-19 pandemic were done as tax credits, so Americans who don’t normally file taxes are in some cases forced to file a tax return, especially if they missed out on either of the previous two stimulus payments.

The Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers is one of several agencies that are providing free tax preparation services to those whose household incomes qualify.

To get set up with the BFNC, Hope Center director Daysi Ball says you have to set up an appointment.

“An intake appointment means that they have to come with their ID, their Social Security card, their tax documents,” Ball said. “If they filed somewhere in the year prior, bring their documents from the year prior.”

One of the big changes the American Rescue Plan made in the law was allowing a recipient to receive up to $10,000 in unemployment before those benefits are taxed- but as tax specialist Greenard Poles points out, the state still has to reciprocate on state taxes.

“The state unemployment is still taxable, and now all of the taxable unemployment won’t be taxable under the new legislation,” Poles said.

The Social Services agencies that do taxes are getting swamped.

“Our phones have been blowing up,” Ball said. “We want to be able to help everyone- we just ask that everyone be patient and we just want to ensure that everyone gets the time and attention they need.”

Find contact information for the BFNC here.

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