CARES Act Stimulus Payments Have Reached 160 Million Households --But Could Reach Millions More: Technical Fixes and Future Reforms for Ensuring Emergency Funds Reach Those Who Need Them Most   [open pdf - 8MB]

From the Introduction: "In the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act, Congress authorized $1,200 economic impact payments (EIPs, a.k.a. stimulus checks) to nearly every adult in the country, and tasked the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) with getting these critical funds in the hands of families. Over the last several months, faced with the implementation of one of the largest and most time-sensitive relief programs in American history, the IRS has made tremendous efforts to issue these payments quickly and seamlessly. The program has demonstrated what it looks like when the IRS takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that funds reach people in need--and there are valuable lessons from this experience for the administration of other tax code programs that benefit low-income families. [...] While the CARES Act was a promising start, additional stimulus dollars are needed to escape this recession. [...] This report lays out the following: [1] a set of technical fixes around delivery of the first stimulus payments (and similar payments in any future congressional aid), [2] a set of technical fixes to ensure EIP claimants can also access other critical tax credits, and [3] several medium-term reforms to increase earned income tax credit (EITC) access for low-income families, informed by the possibilities the crisis and rapid response have raised."

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