CARES act informatie

8 min
Gepubliceerd op: 10-05-2020 Laatst gewijzigd op: 12-05-2024

CARES Act information (english only)

The US has a financial aid package of $1,200, – for every US citizen, and also for the ones living abroad. The package is called the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security). Everyone who is eligible gets the payment the IRS has stated. This applies to all US citizens who have been filing but also non-filers.

We have been hard at work lobbying with government and banking organizations to ensure payments can be received. We have also collected all information, and tips on CARES. Note that this page will be regularly updated. Read our FAQ f you’re eligible and how best to collect your payment. Click on a question or scroll down:


Am I eligible for the $1.200

You are eligible for the $1.200, – CARES Act whether you have filed a tax return or not. Below you will find the different scenarios. You qualify for the CARES act when you are either:

A) Filing:

You earn less than $99.000, – G.I.A (gross adjusted income), and filed at least your 2018 return and your 2019 return. Please check your 1040 to see what your income was. If your income is more than $ 75.000, – the CARES Act cheque becomes less and is reduced to zero when you earn more than $99.000. We posted some example calculations in this article.

B) Non-filer:

You also are eligible for the $1.200,- dollar cheque if you didn’t need to file in the past years because you didn’t have (enough) income to meet the threshold in 2019. You would then qualify as a Non-filer.

For example: when your income is less than $12,200 (this also applies to children with an SSN), You’re married filing jointly, and together your income is less than $24,400 or you have no income. You’re NOT considered a non-filer when you do make an income according to the IRS criteria but have decided not to file.

C) I never filed and have income.

Please check the article about Streamlined

Do I need to file my US return for 2020?

Many people who did file 2019 got a confirmation for the $1200, – just one week after E-filing. The IRS says that everyone who has filed for 2018 should automatically get the payment but many haven’t. We therefore recommend filing but FIRST opening a US bank account, then E-file 2020  (claiming the Recovery Rebate) with that information included and after that check the Get My Payment website from the IRS. So the order is:

  • Open a US bank account first BEFORE filing. See below instructions
  • Inform your tax preparer to add the US bank account to your 2020 return
  • Your US tax return 2020 will now have a US bank account on it that’s registered with the IRS
  • Wait one week and check the Get My Payment website
  • The care cheque will/might be directly deposited into that account instead of sending a paper cheque which is very hard to exchange in some European countries


  • If you have already filed it’s very hard to change or add account information for that year.

If I do the streamlined procedure do I get $1.200?

The Streamlined procedure is for people who just discovered they were US persons, have a filing obligation, and want to file without penalties. You’re eligible for the CARES cheque in case you did have an income up to $99.000 but never filed.

In this procedure, you will be asked to file 3 years back and receive no penalties. Usually, there is also no tax owed. Since the $1.200, – is paid to people who have filed since 2018 you should be eligible.

The IRS has said they will distribute cheques until the end of the year. We can’t give you a guarantee as the procedure is being updated every week. We don’t know if it’s available next year, so we recommend getting started. Please contact us for step-by-step help with this procedure by an affordable expert.

If you want to file yourself, please check the IRS website. It is not recommended as the forms are complicated and mistakes can lead to serious complications. If you want to find an expert who can help you file affordably then please contact us without any obligation.

Do my partner and children qualify?

They only qualify if they have a Social Security Number. Please read our article on how to obtain one. If they do you can claim $500, – for children and $1.200, – for a partner.

If you’re filing jointly and your partner is NOT a US citizen, then you will receive no funds at all. We don’t know why this applies but it does. Do also note if you file jointly your partner is obliged also to file a US Tax return which is a serious obligation.

How can I receive my payment by bank?

We recommend getting a free US bank account. Normally the IRS sends cheques that arrive late and are increasingly difficult to deposit in Europe as many banks have stopped accepting them. We have been writing to the local bank authorities to ask for support in this matter to ensure cheques can be exchanged. However, the easiest and quickest way to receive the $1200,- from the IRS Cares Act is to open a free US bank account online.

The easiest and cheapest way we found in our research is via Transferwise. You can open a free account and then need to deposit € 20, – to activate your US bank account. (You can get the € 20,- back). You will then be able to view your US bank account number.

We have agreed with Transferwise that you will get a discount when you convert your first $220 to Euros if you register via the below link. Full disclosure: In some events, we will receive a small commission from Transferwise. Please direct all questions about the service to Transferwise directly if you have them.

Visit Transferwise

How to exchange a paper cheque?

First, as if your local bank will accept cheques. If you already have a paper cheque and are having trouble exchanging it at your local bank then you have two options. You might, in some cases, be able to cancel the cheque with the sender and request a direct deposit. In this case, you can still use the option to get a US bank account option.

The second option is to open a free account with the SDFCU (State Department Federal Credit Union). Although the name sounds like it is government-related it is not we have been told.  It is a little harder to open your bank account there because you always need a Social Security Number and in some cases even the original SSN certificate which shows your SSN. They’re very strict and have said they will not deviate from any of their requirements.


The account they offer is free of charge. Only after one month when opening the account, you can use their ‘remote deposit’ service to cash a cheque. This service can be found via their website once you’re logged into your account. The mobile app also has several functions but is meant for residents in the United States. Please direct all questions about the service to the SDFC directly if you have them. 

Using the IRS Get My Payment website?

The IRS claims that all payments will be made automatically if you’re eligible. We’re not sure this will be the case, especially for Americans living overseas. To check if you will receive the payment the IRS has launched the ‘Get My Payment website’.

The website allows you to check if a cheque has been or will be dispersed and enter bank details.  We recommend getting a free US bank account to avoid getting a paper cheque. You can enter your US bank details on the Get My Payment website.

The ‘Get my payment’ website is not working well. Almost everyone gets the message ‘Payment status not available’. Other messages indicate the system has not (yet) recognized you. Please do let us know if you were able to get through so we can help others. Once we receive more confirmation it is working properly, we will send out a newsletter.

Once you have determined you are eligible make sure you have all your information at hand: your US bank account details, SSN, Date of Birth, and address. Without a valid SSN, it is not possible to apply.

I am already filing

I am a Non filer*

*. If you didn’t have income before 2019 but have income in 2019, we don’t recommend using the non-filer option. It is not clear how this impacts your return.

We would like to stress that the website still gives almost all Americans living overseas the message ‘payment status not available’ or not recognized. You can give it a try as its updated on a weekly basis.

We kindly ask you to direct any questions regarding the above information directly to Transferwise or the IRS. As soon as there is new information on the CARES act and IRS website, we will also update you.

Do I get the cheque when renouncing?

No, the IRS states you need to be a citizen in 2020 with a valid SSN. If you did get the cheque our advice is to not cash the cheque and return it. Also, the IRS will look at your return of 2020 which has to be filed in 2021. If you have or are renouncing this year you won’t be filing 2021.

How to return a stimulus check?

If you received an erroneous paper check, here’s what to do:
1. Write “void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
2. Write a note to include with the check explaining why it’s being returned.
3. Mail the check and the note to the IRS location based on the state you live in. The list of addresses is available on the IRS website.

If you got a direct deposit, or you already cashed the paper check you received, here’s what to do:
1. Submit a personal check or money order to the IRS address corresponding to your state — you’ll find that list here.
2. Make it payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write “2020EIP” along with the recipient’s Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification (TIN) number.
3. Write a note to include with the check explaining why it’s being returned.

A foreign country, U.S. possession or territory*, or use an APO or FPO address, or file Form 2555 or 4563, or are a dual-status alien.

Austin Internal Revenue Service
3651 S Interregional Hwy 35
Austin, TX 78741

Source: IRS


While we have done our utmost best to collect all information currently available and research the best options for receiving funds this should not be considered as financial advice. We urge readers to do their own due diligence and can’t accept any liability arising out of actions taken due to this article.

Please feel free to email us or call if you have any other questions regarding your US tax filing requirements free of charge and without any obligations. Thank you.

About Americans Overseas

We, the founders of Americans Overseas, were born in the Netherlands and obtained our American nationality through our (American) mother.

When we heard about the US tax system for the first time around 2013, we were in total disbelief (it can’t be true!), anger (how can they do this?), fear (am I going to get fined or pick up other problems?), and panic (what should I do?). It is (unfortunately) true that there is an additional American tax levy. But there’s no information from the local government, and when approached, the consulate referred us to the IRS, and the IRS was impenetrable.

That’s why we started this initiative to help people from all over the world by providing proper information about the US tax system to avoid unnecessary panic and offering help free of obligation and free of charge. If needed, we have a network of affordable professionals (accountants) who can help you with your tax obligations.

Americans Overseas can advise you which renunciation program is best for you and inform you about the renouncing US citizenship tax implications. If you have questions you can contact us at Americans Overseas.


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