Coronavirus Aid Debit Cards and Helpline coming

On Monday 18 May the US Treasury announced it would be sending CARES Act aid, known as the Economic Impact Payments, to eligible Americans who have no bank account details on file with the IRS and who file their returns at either Austin, TX or Andover, MA.  Americans abroad who file Form 2555 to claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion file their tax returns at the IRS processing center in Andover.

The EIP Card (Visa debit card issued by MetaBank) can be used immediately upon activation and can be used to withdraw cash from an ATM, transfer funds to a bank account, issue a check or make purchases wherever Visa is accepted.

According to Treasury if the IRS didn’t have a person’s bank account information from previous tax returns or from a submission to the IRS online tools (the Non-Filers and Get My Payment tool) the IRS mailed paper checks.  About 10 million Americans who qualify under the CARES Act have yet to receive their Economic Impact Payment.

Democrats Abroad continues to receive messages from Americans abroad eligible for the CARES Act aid and still waiting to receive them.  Hopefully they will find a check or debit card from the IRS in their mailbox soon.

In the meantime Democrats Abroad will continue to raise concerns about the serious problems the U.S. tax system causes for Americans living abroad.  (There’s something bitterly ironic in the fact that our current system of citizenship based taxation demands Americans declare their income to the IRS no matter where they live, yet these critical IRS systems failed for many weeks to accommodate Americans with non-US residential addresses.)

If you are amongst those who have struggled to navigate the CARES Act aid program we urge you to call, write or email your elected representatives and tell them of your experience.


This week the IRS published a phone number for those with questions about their Economic Impact Payment.  It is 1 800 919 9835.  Note:  1-800 numbers are not always accessible from abroad.

It is unclear whether the helpline will be an automated service (as it is now) or be operated by call center representatives, and whether the operators will be able to address questions unique to Americans living outside the U.S.  Please let us know how you find the service.  [email protected] 

Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force