Your IRS stimulus check didn’t arrive, and you need the money? You’re not alone. Millions of people are in this category. There are a variety of reasons why people aren’t getting their COVID-19 stimulus checks.
If you’re one of those people, what steps should you take next?
First of all, don’t try calling the IRS. “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.
Here’s what you can do:
Check Your Payment Status Through the IRS Get My Payment Portal
You can check your payment status through the IRS portal here. If that 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.
The IRS is updating this portal frequently, so if it didn’t give you the result you want, check again.
Check With Your Tax Preparing Service, if You Used One
Some people who used TurboTax or H&R Block reported that they haven’t received their checks. The IRS explains:
When you filed your tax return, if you chose a refund settlement product for direct deposit purposes, you may have received a prepaid debit card. In some cases, your Economic Impact Payment may have been directed to the bank account associated with the refund settlement product or prepaid debit card. If the refund settlement product or the associated account is closed or no longer active, the bank is required to reject the deposit and return it to the IRS.
In that case, the IRS will process the returned payment and will automatically mail the check “to the address on the 2019 or 2018 tax return, or the address on file with the U.S. Postal Service.” Mailed checks can take longer to receive.
Doublecheck Whether You’re Eligible
Some people don’t qualify for stimulus checks. If you are a dependent on someone else’s tax returns (like a parent’s), you don’t qualify for a stimulus check, according to the IRS. A lot of college students have fallen into this category.
You also might be over the income limits. Those limits, according to the IRS, are:
U.S. citizens and U.S. resident aliens will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers, and $2,400 for married filing jointly if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:
$75,000 for individuals if their filing status was single or married filing separately
$112,500 for head of household filers and
$150,000 for married couples filing joint returns
Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI is between:
$75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately
112,500 and $136,500 for head of household
$150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly
The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayers specific adjusted gross income.
The IRS says you need a work-eligible Social Security number to get a check. According to the IRS, if you’re “a nonresident alien” under the law, then you don’t qualify for a check.
Make Sure You Gave the IRS Your Basic Information
Not everyone needs to file a tax return to get a stimulus check, but some people do. You can find out if you need to file a tax return here.
Some categories of people don’t need to file tax returns to get their checks. The IRS says recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits don’t need to take any action to get their stimulus money.
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.
Try Some Hacks to Get Around Glitches on the IRS Get My Payment Site
Some people have run into glitches on the IRS Get My Payment portal that might be delaying their ability to give the IRS the basic information it needs. If the IRS rejects your information, make sure you’ve spelled it exactly as it appears on your tax return. Spell out “Avenue” instead of “Ave.” (and things like that), and watch for abbreviations, spelling and punctuation differences. One hack that works for some people: Type your information in all caps. You could also try eliminating all punctuation. Try your 2018 information if 2019 doesn’t work.
We know that’s not the answer you wanted to hear, but if you’re getting a paper check, the IRS probably just didn’t mail it yet, and there’s not much you can do to speed that up. For example, if you filed your 2019 tax return recently, it might be delayed in processing. But you should get the check eventually.
The IRS started sending the payments in phases, not all at once, beginning on April 10. If you’ve fallen into the category of getting a paper check, it could take several months to receive your check. Paper checks started going out in late April, according to The Chicago Tribune. In addition, the IRS is sending checks to those with lowest income first.
As of May 6, the IRS had already sent out 130 million stimulus checks but was still expected to send out millions more, The Associated Press reported.
One reason you may be getting a paper check is that the IRS tried to send your check to an old bank account and it was rejected. You’ll also receive a paper check if you don’t have a bank account.
“We will mail your Payment to the address we have on file for you. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS),” the IRS says.
If you receive a letter about the payment being made but haven’t received the payment, you’ll need to contact the IRS. “As required by law and for security reasons, a letter about the Payment will be mailed to each recipient’s last known address within 15 days after the Payment is made,” the IRS says. “The letter will provide information on how the Payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the Payment.”