The IRS has started sending direct payments to millions of eligible Americans as part of the sweeping coronavirus economic rescue package, with about 80 million people expected to have received their money this week.
They should see deposits of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, plus another $500 per child, depending on income. But others may face a longer wait.
The IRS has said that people who filed their tax returns for 2018 or 2019 with direct deposit information for refunds will get their stimulus payments first. Those in other groups, like taxpayers who haven’t received refunds recently or people who typically don’t file tax returns, could see delays.
So if you didn’t get money, what should you do?
There are some options if you’re waiting for the money to arrive, thanks to a couple of new online tools from the IRS.
Confirm that you’re eligible
While a reported 150 million Americans are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment, not everyone qualifies. You’re not qualified if you had an adjusted gross income in 2019 (or 2018 if not filing in 2019) of more than $99,000 for individuals, $146,500 for head-of-household filers, and $198,000 for married couples filing jointly.
Additionally, if you’re claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return, don’t have a valid Social Security number, or are a nonresident alien, you’re not eligible. (There’s a breakdown of eligibility requirements on the IRS website.)
Check the status of your payment
If you’re waiting for a payment, you can check the status through the Get My Payment portal, which the IRS launched this week. Some people reported a “payment status not available” message when they tried to check. If that happens, the IRS recommends checking again later: The portal is updated daily.
You’ll need to provide your mailing address, birth date, and Social Security number to check payment status.
You may be able to speed things up
Those who have bank account information on file with the IRS from past tax returns are among the first to get stimulus checks. But if you have gotten a check in the mail, or didn’t get a refund in 2018 or 2019, you still may be able to speed up the process.
You can update your bank account information through the Get My Payment site, which will allow the IRS to process the funds through direct deposit. But the update has to be made before the payment has been processed — otherwise, the website won’t allow you to add information. If that happens, the payment will be mailed to your last known address.
To add bank account information, you’ll need to provide the adjusted gross income from your most recent tax return, the amount of refund or payment owed from that year, and your bank account and routing numbers.
What if I don’t normally file taxes?
If you earned less than $12,200 or are part of a couple who earned less than $24,400 last year, you don’t usually have to file tax returns. But to get a stimulus payment, you will need to provide some information to the IRS.
That can be done via the IRS’s Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info portal, which also launched this week. That tool takes information including your full name, birth date, Social Security number, mailing address, and bank account and routing numbers. If you don’t have banking information, a check will be sent.
If you used a tax-preparation service or program
Many people who used tax preparation firms, such as H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt, or programs such as TurboTax were reportedly left waiting for stimulus money this week. As The Inquirer reported, that usually involves people who have their refunds deposited onto prepaid cards like the H&R Block Emerald Card or Turbo Visa Debit Card.
If you’re affected by this, you should use the Get My Payment tool to track the stimulus money. If you’ve lost your prepaid card, you can check your tax preparer’s website for information on how to have a new one issued. However, if your information is not on file with the IRS, you may need to wait for a check to arrive.
If you get Social Security
If you receive Social Security benefits and did not file taxes in 2018 or 2019, you will not need to provide additional information to the IRS. Instead, the Treasury Department has indicated, the IRS will make direct payments using information found on Forms SSA-1099 or RRB-1099.
Deposits will be made the same way you typically receive Social Security payments. The IRS notes online that if you are a Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 recipient, your information is currently not available via the Get My Payment portal.
What if I have to receive a check in the mail?
If you are not able to provide banking information, or did not update it before your payment was processed, you will likely have to wait to receive a check in the mail. That process is slated to begin the week of May 4.
Mailing checks could take as long as 20 weeks, Rep. Richard Neal (D., Mass.), who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, has indicated. That could push payment for some Americans back as far as September.
So you may just have to be patient.