There are nine million unclaimed stimulus checks from the last big coronavirus pandemic relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed at the end of March, according to reporting from Forbes.
That number is down three million from the 12 million who had yet to claim their stimulus checks back in July, according to California Health Advocates.
According to Masslive.com, the IRS said that seven million Americans used the agency’s Non-Filers tool last week.
Many States Have Hundreds of Thousands of Unclaimed Stimulus Checks
Fox-5 Atlanta reported that roughly 348,000 stimulus checks are unclaimed in Georgia. According to an article in The Ascent from personal finance specialist Dana George, there are roughly two million unclaimed stimulus checks in California alone. According to Masslive.com, there are 187,768 unclaimed checks in Massachusetts.
Forbes reported that nearly 800,000 Texans and more than 500,000 New Yorkers, as well as 5,795 members of Armed Forces, have yet to claim their stimulus checks. There are more than 150,000 Indianans, according to WISH-TV, who have yet to claim their stimulus checks.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig told Forbes the state breakdowns are supposed to help officials prepare to distribute the unclaimed funds:
We are releasing this state-by-state information so that state and local leaders and organizations can better understand the size of this population in their communities and assist them in claiming these important payments. Time is running out to claim a payment before the deadline.
The breakdown was released after a report from the Government Accountability Office found that the IRS needed to get current on its data, especially with eligible stimulus check recipients who had yet to claim their checks.
In the Government Accountability Office’s report, they made the following recommendations for the IRS:
GAO recommends that Treasury, in coordination with IRS, (1) update and refine the estimate of eligible recipients who have yet to file for an EIP to help target outreach and communications efforts and (2) make estimates of eligible recipients who have yet to file for an EIP, and other relevant information, available to outreach partners to raise awareness about how and when to file for EIP.
According to the GAO, “(The) Treasury and IRS neither agreed nor disagreed with the recommendations.”
Here’s What You Need to Know if Your Check Is One of the Millions Unclaimed
The IRS announced that they would begin mailing out nine million letters on September 24 to notify people who might be eligible to receive a stimulus check and what they can do. Here is a link to a copy of that letter.
Those eligible will need to file a return or use the Non-Filers tool before October 15 if they want to receive a stimulus check before the next tax season.
Here a couple of things you might need to know:
Am I eligible for a stimulus check? To be eligible for a stimulus check, according to the IRS, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien, possess a Social Security number and remain unclaimed as a dependent on anyone else’s tax return. Here is a link to the IRS’ eligibility requirements for stimulus checks.
Do I need to file a tax return? According to the IRS, you will need to file a tax return if you want to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. This is also the case for those who make enough to pay taxes, but never filed this year.
Do I need to use the Non-Filers tool? You will need to use the Non-Filers tool to receive your stimulus checks if you were not required to file taxes because you did not make enough money. Here is a link to the Non-Filers tool.
How can I get my payment quickly? The IRS has said that having your taxes set up to be received by direct deposit will make receiving stimulus checks easier.
What happens if I don’t claim my stimulus check before the October 15 deadline? The IRS has said that those who wait and attempt to claim their checks next year can claim a recovery rebate credit on their 2020 federal income tax returns.
Here is a link to other frequently asked questions about stimulus checks, formally called Economic Impact Payments.