CARES Act and Economic Impact Payments – Eligibility for International Students and Scholars
There have now been three rounds of economic impact payments, also known as stimulus checks. These checks are only intended for:
- U.S. citizens and permanent residents
- Individuals who are residents for U.S. tax purposes AND who have a social security card valid for employment.
See the eligibility information on the IRS website. Residence for tax purposes is determined by the green card test and the substantial presence test for the calendar year. Since eligible individuals and their dependents need to have social security numbers, if a dependent has an ITIN, an international student or scholar who filed a joint return will not receive a stimulus payment.
If an individual erroneously filed a tax return as a resident and erroneously received a stimulus payment, they should prepare an amended tax return and return the payment by following the steps outlined in the IRS guidance. However, due to IRS delays, people who filed amended returns after the first stimulus check, may have received a second or third check. Any erroneous stimulus payment should be returned to the IRS. More information about the stimulus payment can be found on the IRS Economic Impact Payments website.