Everything You Need To Know About Stimulus Checks


Most of the country has received their stimulus checks by now, either by direct deposit, a paper check, or a prepaid debit card. Even so, there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the stimulus program.


I have not received my payment yet – what do I do?

If you have not yet received your payment, it is possible that they just haven’t gotten to you yet. As of today (June 15, 2020), the IRS still has an estimated 35 million payments to send out. So, the unpopular answer is, just be patient. As long as you are eligible to receive a payment, you will get yours eventually.


Is there any other reason I haven't received my payment yet?


Yes. The IRS could have outdated address information for you, or your banking information is incorrect. If you didn't have a bank account when you filed your tax return in 2018 or 2019 and used a prepaid debit card, or received an "instant" refund from a paid preparer, the payment will be returned to the IRS and they will send you a paper check. If the post office returns the paper check to the IRS, it is up to you to update your address with the IRS. The best way to see what is up with your payment is to use the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website.


Anything else?


If you owe child support, your payment will be redirected to the person you owe child support to. If you file jointly with your spouse, their portion of the stimulus will also be redirected.


If you have not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, that will hold up your payment. If you are required to file a return and just haven't yet, you need to file an original return as soon as possible, and you should file it electronically. The IRS is just beginning to open after being shuttered due to Covid-19, and it will take weeks, if not months, to go through the mail that has been piling up in the IRS mailrooms. File electronically, through a licensed practitioner (like me!), or by using home software or through the IRS FreeFile system.


If you are low income or only receive Social Security income and are not otherwise required to file a return, use the IRS nonfilers tool to provide your information to the IRS.


Finally, you may have been a victim of a scammer. When the IRS issues your payment, you will get a letter about 14 days later to confirm your payment has been sent and the method used to send it. It will also have instructions on how to report that the money didn't arrive.


What do I do if I received a payment for my deceased spouse?


Because the IRS is relying on information that is 2 years old, they will make mistakes. If you received a payment that was sent in error, they are asking taxpayers to return the money. There are instructions on their website on how to do this.


Are payments only coming by direct deposit or paper check?



No. Some payments are coming by pre-paid debit cards. Be sure to check your mail carefully and if you receive a random debit card in the mail, don't throw it away. If you already accidentally threw it away or destroyed it, you can contact Metabank, the company that issued the cards, and report it lost or destroyed. Instructions on how to do this can be found here.


Is there another stimulus payment in my future?


Possibly. Congress has been going back and forth over this for weeks. All indicators point to mid-July at the earliest before we will have any information about a 2nd stimulus package.


I'm only answering the most common questions here. A more in depth FAQ can be found on the IRS Economic Impact Payment Information Center.

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