Are you eligible for a stimulus payment, but still waiting for your IRS check? Here are some possible reasons why it hasn’t shown up.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who still don’t get their coronavirus stimulus check of up to $1,200 in your bank account or mailbox, there may be several reasons behind this.
When your 2020 relief check arrives from the IRS (if you qualify) it will arrive via direct deposit to your bank account (if you set it up before the May 13 deadline) or via regular mail (you will receive a paper check or a prepaid debit card). That money is yours to spend as you wish, obviously. The IRS said it will extend its payment schedule through the end of June and – by May 27, 2020 – has already sent more than 150 million checks across the country. In addition, a bill for a second round of stimulus checks for up to US$1,200 is in the early stages of negotiation, although that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal.
However, the payment process has not always been easy. Many readers have commented on situations where the IRS indicated that their checks were sent or deposited weeks ago, but they have not yet seen it. In another example, people say they submitted their banking information using the IRS Get My Payment website in April, but still cannot see the status of their payments. If you’ve checked the IRS tool and haven’t found the answers you’re looking for, here are some reasons that might be behind the delay.
You won’t get a check if you’re not eligible
First of all, check to see if you’re eligible for a coronavirus crisis stimulus check. You are eligible if you meet the following requirements:
- If you’re a single U.S. resident and have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of less than $99,000.
- If you declared yourself to be the head of the household and earned less than $146,500.
- You filed a joint return without children and earned less than $198,000.
- If you have a child under 16 years old
- If you are a foreign resident living and working in the U.S. and have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) – this includes people with work visas such as H-1B, H-2A, and L, and people protected under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs.
The IRS has scheduled your payment for later this year
While the IRS has sent 152 million payments as of May 22, it still has more to go. In April, the IRS estimated (PDF) that it may take up to 20 weeks to send all payments and prioritizes the payment schedule by sending checks to those with the lowest income first. Depending on your adjusted gross income, it may take weeks and possibly months to wait, according to the IRS plan.
The IRS started processing a paper check before you asked for direct deposit
If the IRS was already preparing to send your paper check when you provided your banking information online, you will still receive your check in the mail. The IRS said it can usually take up to 14 days to receive payment in this situation.
Your bank has had trouble processing the deposit
If your bank was unable to process the IRS electronic money transfer, the payment was returned and the IRS is now mailing your check to the most recent address on file, either from a 2019 or 2018 tax return or from the Postal Service address.
The IRS was waiting for information about your bank
The IRS made a major effort to have everyone who was eligible for a check sign up for direct deposit by May 13. The benefit of direct deposit, the IRS said, was that you would get your check faster than by mail. Now that that deadline has passed, the IRS says it will begin sending paper checks and debit cards to those for whom it has no bank information between the end of May and June.
Bank information held by the IRS is no longer valid
The IRS said it is using bank information from your 2018 or 2019 tax return to send your payment. However, some tax preparers set up temporary accounts for their clients to receive their refunds, such as a prepaid debit card. If this is the information the IRS has for you, the agency said the payment will be returned and reprocessed.
If for some reason, the bank information the IRS has for you is not valid, the agency says it will mail your check. The IRS asks you to check the Get My Payment tool to receive updates on your payment.
You owe child support money
If you are behind on your child support, the IRS said your payment may be reduced or deducted entirely. If that happens, the Tax Service Office will send you a notice.
A dependent is not eligible for a payment
Parents who are not married to each other and do not file a joint return cannot claim a qualifying child as a dependent. The father who claimed his child on his 2019 return may receive payment. Similarly, dependent college students do not qualify for a payment.
Someone may have stolen your check
The FBI warns that con artists could be lurking around your stimulus check. If you receive a letter from the IRS notifying you that the agency has already sent your money, with details on whether it arrived in the mail or directly to your bank, but you have not received it, the letter includes information on how to report a missed payment.
You must submit a non-disclosure form
If you are eligible for a payment, but because of your low income you did not have to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, you may have to use the IRS non-reporting tool to provide the agency with your information. If you think that’s the case, go to the IRS website and check the requirements and provide basic information to get your stimulus check.
To help people who are having trouble making their stimulus payments, the IRS says it has added 3,500 phone representatives to answer your questions and concerns. However, those representatives will not be able to help you with specific problems with your payment.