In order to help people deal with the high costs of inflation, the state of Maine has started giving $850 stimulus payments to taxpayers who qualify.
As of June 24, more than half of those who were eligible had received stimulus checks, and more are on the way.
“Because housing, food, and energy costs have gone up, the stimulus checks will help low-income families a lot,” says Sarah Austin, director of policy and research at the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP).
Even though nine other states have passed stimulus plans, Maine gives its residents the most money. This emergency legislation is part of the state’s supplemental budget for fiscal year 2022-2023, along with a few other measures to help people with money. It is expected to affect 858,000 people in Maine.
- Stimulus Checks for Low-income Families (Latest Update)
- Fourth Stimulus Check of $850 is Coming in June (Latest Update)
What is the Maine Direct Relief Payment?
Under Maine’s relief plan, individuals can get $850 in cash and couples can get $1,700.
The governor’s office says that these payments are meant to help people pay for things like groceries, gas, and utilities, but people can use the money for anything they want.
According to what the governor said, residents of Maine must meet the following requirements to get the payment:
- By October 31, 2022, you must have filed your first individual income tax return as a full-time resident of Maine.
- Not eligible to be shown as a dependant on another resident’s tax return
- Your total adjusted gross income (FAGI) must be less than:
- $100,000 if you are single or married but don’t file together.
- $150,000 if you are the head of the family.
- $200,000 for married couples who file together
When and How Will Payments Be Issued?
On June 1, 2022, the first payments were sent out by the U.S. Postal Service. This was done by the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS) (USPS). Governor Mills said that 5,000 checks would be sent with the first shipment and that up to 200,000 checks would be sent each week after that.
In a statement to Forbes Advisor, the DAFS confirmed that payments are being made on time. “As of June 24, 2022, 453,805 relief checks had been sent out, and another 97,663 were waiting to be printed and/or sent,” the agency said.
We knew there would be some delays, though. At first, a lack of envelopes could have slowed down distribution, but the problem has reportedly been fixed.
According to the DAFS, most residents who filed their state taxes for 2021 will get their payments by the end of July. More checks will be sent out until the end of the year as tax returns are processed. Residents can check the status of their Maine stimulus check by going to Maine.gov and giving some information, such as their Social Security number.
What if You Haven’t Received Your Payment?
Maine is sending out payments right now, so your check may be on the way. If a resident hasn’t gotten their payment and can’t find out where their check is, they may need to do the following:
File 2021 State Income Taxes (There’s Still Time)
No one will get a stimulus payment if they haven’t filed their 2021 state income tax return. Even though the deadline to file taxes in Maine for 2021 has passed, residents can still do so until October 31, 2022 to get a direct payment.
People who don’t usually file, like those who get Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), must file a Form 1040ME and fill out the right parts of Schedule PTFC/STFC by October 31 in order to get their check.
Austin of the Maine Center for Economic Policy says that low-income families are less likely to file tax returns, so they miss out on stimulus payments, child tax credits, and other tax benefits. She says, “The state has taken some steps to fix this, like giving money to a free tax site.” You can get free help with your taxes by going to cashmaine.org, 211maine.org, or calling 2-1-1.
The DAFS also says that this could be a chance for you to get other state tax breaks that you are eligible for. “A Mainer who doesn’t usually file a tax return can follow the same steps to claim the $850 property tax and sales tax fairness credits, and they don’t have to file a federal return.”
Update Your Address
Your payment will be sent to the address you list on your 2021 Maine individual income tax return. If that address has changed, the USPS will send it to your new address.
If you need to change the address
(MRS) has on file for you, you’ll need to send them proof of your new address in writing, along with other identifying information like your SSN. You can find instructions at Maine.gov.
If you think your stimulus check has been lost or stolen, call (207) 624-9924 to talk to Maine Revenue Services.
Stimulus Check Scams
During the pandemic, there were a lot of scams involving federal stimulus checks, and the same thing is happening to some people in Maine.
In May, the attorney general’s office and Maine Revenue Services warned that scammers had been posing as “Maine IRS” agents to get Social Security numbers and other sensitive information.
Consumers should know that the Maine Revenue Service (MRS), which sends the Maine stimulus payments, is not the same as the IRS.
Since the IRS is a federal agency, it won’t talk to taxpayers about their state stimulus payments. The IRS also says that it will never “contact taxpayers by email, text, or social media to ask for personal or financial information,” and that spelling mistakes and bad grammar are often signs of fraud.
In a statement from May, Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey told people to watch out for these kinds of scams. “Don’t give out any personal information to anyone who asks for it over the phone without first making sure who they are,” he said.
Is Additional Help Coming for Maine Residents?
After getting $285 from the state’s Disaster Relief Program last year, people in Maine may be wondering if they will continue to get payments from the state.
Austin says that people in Maine have no reason to think that they will get another payout like this. Even though the stimulus check is a response to the economy, it was made for another useful reason. “Like almost every other state, Maine has rules about its budget that say it has to be balanced,” she says.
More than half of the state’s budget surplus is going to the new stimulus plan.
There are also important one-time projects in the new supplemental budget. Some highlights of the budget are:
- A tax break for people who get a Maine pension after retirement, including a gradual increase in the amount they can deduct each year, from $10,000 now to $35,000 in 2024.
- An increase in the Property Tax Fairness Credit in Maine, which will give homeowners a refundable tax credit of about $1,000 per year and up to $1,500 per year for senior homeowners.
- Students who were affected by the pandemic will get two years of free community college.
- Up to $2,500 per year, or $25,000 over the course of a student’s life, in refundable tax credits to help pay off student loans.
Austin says that Maine has also doubled its earned income tax credit in a way that won’t change (EITC).
“This will help about 100,000 households in the state,” she says. “On average, it will save each family about $400 a year.”
“Low-income families should be able to expect this benefit in the future as long as they file state income taxes.”
Please visit venturejolt.com for more such content.