- While many Americans have started seeing their stimulus checks as electronic payments in their bank accounts, some are experiencing delays.
- The IRS is working quickly to address delays and other mishaps, but it hasn’t yet provided solutions for every problem.
- Here are some of the most common issues people have shared on Twitter or in emails to Business Insider, and potential solutions using the information we have.
- Read more personal finance coverage.
The Treasury Department is rushing, by government standards, to get stimulus payments out to millions of Americans.
The IRS has said it will make direct-deposit payments before sending out paper checks and that most will hit bank accounts by April 17. The agency is giving some people, including non-filers and people who don’t normally get tax refunds, a chance to provide their bank information so they don’t have to wait on snail mail.
The cash need is urgent for many people who have bills to pay and income to replace, but the system isn’t without fault. On Twitter and in emails to Business Insider, many people are sharing their frustrations about payment delays, updating their bank information, and the amount they’re getting.
A report from the Washington Post said the IRS plans to send out paper checks beginning April 24 to the lowest income folks first. In the weeks following, all the way up to September 11, the IRS plans to send out up to 5 million checks per week.
How you get paid depends in part on whether or not you file taxes. Here are some of the common issues people are experiencing with stimulus payments — or “economic impact payments,” as the IRS calls them — and what to do about it.
If you do file taxes:
1. Your address has changed
If the IRS doesn’t have your direct-deposit information, it will send a paper check to the most recent address it has on file, which may come from your latest tax return or the US Postal Service if you submitted an address change.
If the latest tax return you filed was for 2018 and the mailing address is no longer accurate, then you need to file a 2019 return to update your address. There’s no other way to update your address at this time.
2. Your bank account was closed
If the latest tax return you filed was for 2018 and you listed a bank account that is now closed, the payment will be returned to the IRS and sent as a paper check, which could significantly delay your payment.
In order to give the IRS your current bank account, you need to file a tax return for 2019.
According to a report from USA Today, some people quickly realized their check went to a bank account that isn’t theirs. A spokesperson from the IRS told USA Today that payments made to bank accounts that don’t match the recipient’s name will be returned to the IRS. You can use the “Get My Payment” tool on the IRS website to check where your payment is being sent.
3. You haven’t filed your 2019 tax return yet
Stimulus payments are based off of the adjusted gross income (AGI) on 2019 tax returns, or 2018 if you haven’t filed yet this year. If you didn’t qualify for a payment based on your 2018 income, but you do based on 2019 income, then you should file ASAP.
Payments are being sent throughout 2020, so as long as you file your 2019 return and fall under the income restrictions, you can get your money.
4. You filed your taxes with H&R Block or TurboTax and got a tax refund advance or paid your filing fee through your refund
Up to 21 million people who used TurboTax, H&R Block, and Jackson Hewitt to electronically file a tax return are experiencing delays in receiving their stimulus payment, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
The delays aren’t the fault of the tax preparer, but rather a result of the method of payment used. It’s affecting filers who got an advance on their tax refund or had their tax prep fee deducted from their refund, consumer law expert Vijay Raghavan told The Post.
Raghavan said that tax prep companies received customers’ refunds, deducted the cost of filing their taxes, and then sent out what remained to the customers so the IRS never got their direct-deposit information.
The Post reported that the IRS and Treasury are aware of the issue and working on a solution.
5. You had a significant income change in 2020
If you filed a tax return for 2019 and provided direct-deposit information, your payment should be arriving very soon, if it hasn’t already. Unfortunately for some people, the payment won’t be enough to meet current needs.
The stimulus payments are technically based on 2020 income figures since it is a refundable tax credit offsetting your tax liability for this year. But current income data isn’t readily available to the IRS, so the payments are being made based on previous income.
If your income dropped significantly in 2020, qualifying you for a bigger payment than your 2019 income, you will likely be able to claim your money — we just don’t know how or when yet.
If you don’t file taxes:
1. The IRS doesn’t have your direct-deposit information yet
If you earn less than the standard deduction for your filing status then you aren’t required to file a tax return (though you still might file to claim refundable tax credits).
In order to issue a stimulus payment to people who normally don’t file taxes or receive any form of government financial aid, the IRS says it needs some basic information. You can use the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool to provide your information and choose whether you want your payment via direct deposit — the quicker option — or mail.
2. You receive Social Security benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
The IRS will automatically pay Social Security retirement and disability recipients, railroad-service retirees, and people on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The stimulus payments will be sent in the same manner you receive regular benefits and for the maximum individual amount — $1,200.
If you use direct deposit or a Direct Express debit card, your payment will get to you quicker than if you typically receive a check in the mail. These payments will be made “no later than early May,” according to the Treasury.
3. You receive Veterans benefits
While the IRS has confirmed that Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries will receive stimulus payments, it has not confirmed how. Advocates are pushing for a process similar to other government aid recipients, but there hasn’t been any further guidance released yet.
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For now, VA recipients can use the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool to submit basic information and choose how they want to be paid.
4. You receive government benefits but have dependents under age 17
If you’re a recipient of Social Security, SSI, or Railroad Retirement benefits and you also have dependents under age 17, you will need to take an extra step to get the additional $500 per child stimulus payment by using the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool. If you don’t complete this step, you’ll only get your individual payment.
- Read more on managing your money in this tumultuous time:
- 3 options for people struggling to pay their mortgage during the global health crisis
- 4 reasons to get disability insurance, even if you don’t think you need it
- If you’ve been financially impacted by the coronavirus, you may be able to pause payments on these 8 bills
- How to get a stimulus check from the US government, which could pay up to $1,200 if you qualify
- In response to the coronavirus, credit card issuers like Amex and Capital One are letting customers skip payments without interest and more