Millions of eligible Americans are receiving their coronavirus stimulus checks, but what if that money ends up in the wrong account?
Thousands of individuals have reported that when they access the IRS Get My Payment app, the account number listed is incorrect, unfamiliar or from an old account that is no longer in use.
For individuals who have already filed a 2019 tax return and the IRS already has a bank account on file, it is too late to make changes to your direct deposit information on the Get My Payment app. The IRS has specified that the tool does not let you change direct deposit bank account information in order to protect against fraud.
Speaking to Money, Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, says, “If it goes to an account which is still active, that’s where it’s going to go and it’s going to be your responsibility to figure out what to do.”
Those who have yet to file their taxes can use the IRS’ Get My Payment app to confirm or edit their information.
What If the Stimulus Check Goes to an Account You Can’t Access?
If you cannot access the account where the stimulus check is deposited, Money recommends trying to contact the bank to recover your password and get access to the money.
USA Today, however, reports that for some people, the issue is not accessing the account but finding which account it was even sent to. The outlet writes, “… many people [have] expressed concern when the government website said the cash … was sent to a bank account that didn’t seem to belong to them.”
When USA Today reached out to IRS spokeswoman Jodie Reynolds, she said she “hadn’t heard anything about stimulus checks being deposited into the wrong bank accounts and would look into the matter.”
Douglas Johnson Jr., a finance and banking consultant based in Santa Monica, said those who believe their money has been sent to the wrong account should contact the IRS through the agency’s website and report the problem.
What If Your Bank Account Is Closed?
If your stimulus check is deposited to an account that is closed, the bank will reject the money.
The IRS website reads, “If the account is closed or no longer active, the bank will reject the deposit and you will be issued a check that will be mailed to the address we have on file for you.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). You do not need to call the IRS to change your Payment method or update your address at this time.”
They add that a letter will be sent to each recipient’s last known address 15 days after the payment has been made.
People can find the status of their stimulus checks on the Get My Payment portal.