COVID-19 Stimulus Checks: Is It Possible to Call the IRS?

covid-19 stimulus checks

Getty Covid-19 stimulus checks haven't arrived for all.

Some people still haven’t gotten their COVID-19 stimulus checks. If you’re one of those people, we get why it’s frustrating. If you’re in that situation, there’s a temptation to want to call the IRS about your economic stimulus check. However, is this even possible?

It is now. You can now call the IRS hotline at 1-800-919-9835 to get updates on your stimulus check payment. On May 18, the IRS announced it was adding 3,500 telephone representatives to answer your questions about the checks.

That’s a change from previously, when the IRS was not accepting phone calls about economic stimulus checks. Instead, the IRS was directing you to its website, Get My Payment.

The IRS has attempted to answer most common questions about the stimulus checks on its website. See those questions and answers here. They deal with everything from eligibility to how to calculate your payment.

There are many reasons that a person might not have gotten a stimulus check yet. They range from the checks being sent out in phases to the IRS not having a valid bank account number to late-filed tax returns. See the reasons you might not have gotten your stimulus check here. If you haven’t gotten your check, here’s a list of things you can try.

Here’s what you need to know:

When It Comes to Stimulus Checks, the IRS Says Live Assistance on the Telephone Will be Hard to Come By

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The IRS has made it clear. The agency doesn’t want you to call about your stimulus check.

The IRS does have toll-free numbers. Its website says, “Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time (Alaska & Hawaii follow Pacific Time). The best times to call during April are before 10:00 a.m., and Monday is the heaviest traffic day. (800) 829-1040.” However, if you call that 1-800 number now, an automated voice advises you that the IRS won’t be able to provide live assistance due to reduced staffing levels.

According to the IRS, this number was previously used for:

Have questions regarding a refund
Want the balance due amount on your tax account
Have questions on an existing installment agreement
Want to confirm your payment on an individual tax return was received by IRS
Want the location of an IRS office
Want the location of free tax preparation services to qualified individuals
Did not receive, received an incorrect, or lost your Form W-2 and 1099-R
Have federal tax questions
Have questions pertaining to tax returns or tax related issues

According to the IRS website, live assistance by telephone has been “extremely limited or suspended” due to COVID-19.

“To protect the public and employees, and in compliance with orders of local health authorities around the country, certain IRS services such as live assistance on telephones, processing paper tax returns and responding to correspondence are extremely limited or suspended until further notice,” the IRS explains. Instead, the IRS has set up portals and web pages to answer all of your questions, including, in some cases, why you didn’t get your check.

Under telephone options, the IRS says,

Automated phone lines: which handle most taxpayer calls – also will remain available during this period. Some tax compliance lines also remain available. IRS phone lines supported by customer service representatives for both taxpayers and tax professionals are not staffed at this time. To check on regular tax refund status via automated phone, call 800-829-1954. (This line has no information on Economic Impact Payments.)

If the stimulus check portal tells you “payment status not available,” the IRS says there are multiple possible reasons for that result:

You are required to file a tax return, but:
We haven’t finished processing your 2019 return
The application doesn’t yet have your data; we’re working on adding more data to allow more people to use it.
You don’t usually file a return, and:
You used Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here but we haven’t processed your entry yet
You receive SSI or VA benefits; information has not been loaded onto our systems yet for people who don’t normally file a tax return.
You’re not eligible for a payment.

If you didn’t file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and you’re not a Social Security recipient or in another exempted category, you must provide the IRS with some basic information to get your stimulus money. You can provide that information either by using the non-filers payment tool or filing a federal income tax return for 2019. If the IRS doesn’t get your information, you won’t get a check.

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