In an unprecedented move it has been suggested that the checks – the highlight of the US government’s economic relief package during the business-stifling corona epidemic – bear the name of the head of state.
President Donald Trump’s name will appear on stimulus checks issued by the Internal Revenue Service to tens of millions of Americans as part of a relief plan during this tumultuous time, The Washington Post reported.
It will be the first time a president’s name is expected to be featured on an IRS disbursement, whether a usual tax refund or a government stimulus check.
The unprecedented decision to have the paper checks bear Trump’s name, in the works for weeks, according to a Treasury official, was announced early Tuesday to the IRS’s information technology team.
Separately, according to three unnamed administration officials, Trump had privately suggested to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who oversees the tax service and the issuance of checks, to allow the president to formally sign the documents.
However, POTUS is not authorised to, as US Treasury legal disbursements are typically signed by a civil servant to ensure that government payments are non-partisan, and thus non-political.
Trump’s name instead will be featured in the memo line, below a line stating the purpose of the payment – “Economic Impact Payment”, administration officials said, as cited by the American edition.
The team, which is currently working from home due to coronavirus stay-in orders, is understood to now be working to maintain the technical aspect of the plan – namely to introduce a programming change that two senior IRS officials said will probably lead to a delay in the first batch of paper checks.
They are now scheduled to be sent Thursday to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service for printing and issuing.
As the officials put it, the computer code must be edited to include the president’s name, and the system must be tested before the reimbursements are issued, they said.
“Any last minute request like this will create a downstream snarl that will result in a delay”, said Chad Hooper, a quality-control manager who serves as national president of the IRS’s Professional Managers Association.
A Treasury Department representative, however, denied any delay and said they expect the bulk of the checks to be issued next week.
“Economic Impact Payment checks are scheduled to go out on time and exactly as planned—there is absolutely no delay whatsoever”, the representative said in written comments. She also noted that this was a faster process than the stimulus checks the George W. Bush administration issued in 2008 to stave off an economic recession.
Under the Trump administration’s stimulus plan, single filers, whose income doesn’t exceed $75,000 a year receive a payment of $1,200, while married couples earning up to $150,000 a year are eligible for a one-time payment of $2,400. Parents receive an additional $500 for each child under 17. A total of150 million Americans are expected to be beneficiaries of the programme, with the first wave constituted by those who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and provided their banking information.