More than 110,000 Tennessee residents have yet to receive their stimulus payments, according to data from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. More than $100 million could be left unclaimed if residents don’t file their taxes.
Coordinator of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program at United Way of Greater Nashville Tamara Kreigh cited many reasons people don’t file.
“They just didn’t have the income, or perhaps they’re in that in-between area because of their age, they’re just coming out of school and didn’t work enough hours or earn enough to have a filing requirement,” Kreigh said.
The Internal Revenue Service recently extended the deadline to claim stimulus money to November 21. Individuals who make less than $66,000 a year can get free help filing their taxes and find out if they are eligible for a stimulus payment at GetYourRefund.org.
An estimated 5 million Americans haven’t received stimulus checks because the IRS doesn’t have the addresses of non-filers. Kreigh said that’s flexible cash families are entitled to – at a time when many are struggling. She said many of her clients are on the brink financially.
“But we consider that money just left on the table. And that’s money that can really help,” she said. “I’m hearing all kinds of stories: some of them are homeless, some of them are close to homeless – they’re staying with friends.”
Kreigh said systemic barriers have left out large groups of people, including many who aren’t equipped with tax refund literacy or resources – such as internet access – needed to file.
“If anybody’s ever read an IRS document, you know that it can be confusing,” she said.
One poll by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found most stimulus-check recipients used the money to pay off debt or cushion their savings accounts. It remains unclear whether Congress will pass another coronavirus relief package that includes a second round of stimulus payments.
-Report from Nadia Ramligan, Tennessee Public News Service