A new report issued by The Government Accountability Office found that nearly 9 million people haven’t received a stimulus check in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that is meant to bolster the economy during a time of major job losses and the detrimental impact the virus is having on some businesses.
The reason, according to the GAO, is that The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service has not been able to identify everyone who is eligible to receive a stimulus check, also called an Economic Impact Payment or EIP. That lack of information “could hinder outreach efforts and place potentially millions of individuals at risk of missing their payment,” the report said.
According to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the IRS had issued roughly 153 million payments to Americans by Aug. 28, which totaled nearly $267 billion. As payments continue to go out, the “Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that those payments will cost a total of $292 billion through 2021,” according to the Peterson Foundation.
But millions of Americans are still waiting for their stimulus checks that was part of the package passed in the CARES Act on March 27. Many of those people may be those who have no income or make so little they don’t normally file taxes.
The GOA Says the IRS and Treasury Department Need to do More to Get the Checks to Those in Need
In June, the IRS reopened the Non-Filer’s tool registration period and extended it until Sept. 30, the report says, in order to allow those who don’t make enough money to file taxes to be included as a stimulus check recipient, but according to the GOA, “Treasury and IRS lack updated information on how many eligible recipients have yet to receive these funds.”
The GAO is recommending that the Treasury and IRS essentially should try harder to identify who still is owed a stimulus check and improve their “outreach and communication efforts” to include notifying millions of people they may be eligible for an EIP. The GOA also says in the report that the Treasury and IRS should work with outreach partners to “raise awareness about how and when to file for EIP.”
But whether the IRS and Treasury are going to heed those recommendations is not clear.
According to the report, “Treasury and IRS neither agreed nor disagreed with the recommendations and described actions they are taking in concert with the recommendations to notify around 9 million individuals who may be eligible for an EIP.”
People Who Have Not Yet Recieved Their Stimulus Checks are Urged to Contact the IRS by October 15
While the CARES Act passed in March, shortly after the U.S. went to lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a second stimulus bill has yet to be agreed upon between Republican and Democratic members of Congress.
Under the CARES Act, individual taxpayers were slated to receive stimulus checks in the amount of $1,200, or $2,400 for those filing jointly. If those tax-payers had children, they would receive $500 per child. But not everyone was eligible for a stimulus check — only those who made less than $75,000 per year if they filed individually and for those who filed jointly they had to make less than $150,000 to receive an IEP.
Yet those who make so little that they don’t even file taxes, meaning less than $24,400 for married couples and $12,200 for singles, according to the Peterson Foundation, may have not been on the IRS’s radar.
According to the IRS, people who have yet to receive a stimulus payment have until Oct. 15 to use the Non-Filers tool to try to get your stimulus payment.
If you do not plan on filing a 2019 tax return due to low or no income and have yet to receive your stimulus check, you can visit this link to submit your information to the IRS.