There’s still a lot of confusion about how to register for and track stimulus checks on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. There are two tools, the non-filer tool and the Get My Payment tool, available on the website. The IRS has issued some additional guidance which clarifies how the tools can be used. Here’s how to tell which to use:

If you filed a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019 and the direct deposit information for your tax refund is correct, you do not need to take additional steps. 

  • You can use the Get My Payment Tool to track the status of your check once the IRS has processed your tax return.

If you filed a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019 and the direct deposit information for your tax refund is not correct, your check will go to the account number you included on your return. If the account is no longer active, the IRS will mail your check to your address of record (the address on your last tax return). You cannot update bank account information after your check has been scheduled for delivery, and you cannot change bank account information already on file with the IRS.

If you filed a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019 and you owed tax or didn’t choose direct deposit for your tax refund, you may be able to use the Get My Payment Tool to provide direct deposit account information once the IRS has processed your return. If the tool doesn’t offer you the option to provide your account information, it means the IRS will mail your check. 

  • You can use the Get My Payment Tool to track the status of your check once the IRS has processed your tax return.

If you have not filed a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019 but you expect a tax refund, you need to file your 2019 individual tax return electronically (paper takes much longer to process). If you choose direct deposit for your refund, your stimulus check will be sent to that account; if you do not choose direct deposit, you may be able to use the Get My Payment Tool to provide account information after the IRS has processed your return. If the tool doesn’t offer you the option to provide your account information, it means the IRS will mail your check. 

  • You can use the Get My Payment Tool to track the status of your check once the IRS has processed your tax return.

If you have not filed a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019 but you expect to owe tax, you need to file your 2019 individual tax return electronically (paper takes much longer to process).You may be able to use the Get My Payment Tool to provide direct deposit account information after the IRS has processed your return. If the tool doesn’t offer you the option to provide your account information, it means the IRS will mail your check. 

  • You can use the Get My Payment Tool to track the status of your check once the IRS has processed your tax return.

If you are not required to file a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019 and you receive Social Security retirement, SSI, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits, you don’t need to do anything. The IRS will direct deposit or send your check where you usually receive your benefit. The check will not affect your benefits.

  • In the future, you can use the Get My Payment Tool to track the status of your check. However, if you are an SSA or RRB Form 1099 recipient or SSI benefit recipient, your information is not yet available using the tool.

If you are not required to file a federal income tax return for 2018 or 2019 and you do not receive Social Security retirement, SSI, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits, you need to use the Non-Filer tool. Entering your bank account information will allow the IRS to deposit your payment directly into your account. Otherwise, the IRS will mail your check. 

  • You can use the Get My Payment Tool to track the status of your check once the IRS has processed the information you entered in the Non-Filers tool.

As a reminder, only U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and resident aliens may be eligible for a check (non-resident aliens are not eligible). You must have a valid Social Security number (not an ITIN). Additionally, you will not receive a check if you are a dependent – even if you file a separate tax return.

And one more thing: the stimulus check is NOT taxable and will not affect your 2020 refund. 

Checking in with the tools multiple times won’t give you a different result. According to the IRS, data on the tools is updated once per day overnight, so there’s no need to check back more than once per day. 

Things are happening at a rapid-fire pace these days. As tax updates become available, we’ll keep you updated. Keep checking back for details.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Author

Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.