If you have not yet seen a second federal stimulus payment – a $600 direct payment that was passed by Congress in late December – you may be wondering where it is.
For those who filed a 2019 tax return, it is either in your bank account or soon on the way.
However, if you have seen no indication that you are either getting a direct payment or that a payment is on the way, you may need to do some investigating.
If you have not gotten a payment or notice of one yet, time is running short. The IRS has a Jan. 15 deadline to get those payments sent out.
Below are a few reasons you may not have seen a check yet and may have to take one more step to get one.
1. You did not file a 2019 tax return
The IRS is basing your eligibility for a stimulus check on your 2019 tax form. If you did not file a form for your 2019 taxes, the IRS has nothing to look at to determine what you earned and if you are eligible for the check.
If you generally do not file a tax form, then there could be a delay in getting your stimulus check unless you signed up last year using the IRS “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” tool. That tool allows those who do not have to file a return to get their direct deposit or street address information to the IRS to get the first stimulus check sent out last spring.
The IRS says it will not make the Non-Filers tool available this time.
That does not mean you will not get the money.
If you are owed a check and did not get one, you will have to file a 2020 tax return – you can do so for free through the IRS – and request a “recovery rebate credit.”
What a recovery rebate credit means is that regardless of whether you owe taxes or not, when you file a 2020 return you will get the exact amount of money you were owed from the stimulus check.
Note: You will need “Notice 1444, Your Economic Impact Payment” notice from the IRS when you file.
You will be getting that notice in the mail in late January or February.
2. You filed your 2019 return and it has not been processed
Because of the pandemic, the IRS is still processing some 2019 returns. If your return has not been processed, you will have to claim the amount you would have received as a “recovery rebate” credit on your 2020 tax return. (See the instructions above.)
You can check on the status of your return by going to the “Where’s my refund” tool. Click here to go to that page.
3. The check is in the mail – literally
The IRS has until next week, Jan. 15, to distribute the stimulus checks. If you are getting a check via the mail because the IRS does not have any direct deposit information for you, then you may be waiting just a bit for your check.
The paper checks and debit cards with the stimulus money loaded on them are being sent out as quickly as possible. Debit cards may take a bit longer.
4. You have a new bank account
If you have a new bank or credit union account and the IRS does not have that information, your payment will be delayed. A check will be sent to the account on record with the IRS, if there is one. If that account has been closed, the financial institution must return it to the IRS.
You could still get the check by mail, or the IRS may send no check.
There is no way to inform the IRS of a closed account, so you will have to claim your stimulus payment through the recovery rebate method (see above).
5. If you used a tax preparation company – Turbo Tax or H&R Block – to file your 2019 return
Some people who used Turbo Tax or H&R Block are finding that their payment was sent to an unfamiliar bank account number. Those account numbers were used by the companies to process tax returns.
Both companies have told customers they are moving stimulus payments from those accounts to the customers’ accounts as quickly as possible, but the process may delay the delivery of the checks.
You can check the IRS’s “Get My Payment” tool to see if your payment has been processed and sent to a bank account. If you used the services and see the account number and it is unfamiliar, it is being worked on, though you still may want to contact the company and let them know.
6. You are not eligible for one
If you didn’t get a direct payment, you may make too much money to qualify for one. If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is too high, you can be phased out of the payments.
For the second stimulus payment, the eligible AGI levels (on your income tax return) are:
Single – an AGI of less than $87,000
Head of Household – an AGI of less than $124,000
Couples filing jointly – an AGI of less than $150,000
7. Other reasons you may not get a payment:
- You’re a nonresident in the U.S. without legal permission
- You can be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s 2019 tax return
- You don’t have a Social Security number