The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is emphasizing that no action is required by eligible taxpayers for the second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs, or stimulus checks). As noted earlier, initial direct deposit payments began arriving as early as last night for some and will continue into next week. Paper checks will begin to be mailed on Wednesday, December 30.
This second round of checks is part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, passed by Congress last week and signed into law by President Trump on Sunday night.
Some Americans may see the direct deposit payments as pending or as provisional payments in their accounts before the official payment date of January 4, 2021. At least one bank has suggested that paper checks may be postdated. No matter whether payments are direct deposit or paper checks, they are automatic. There is no magic formula for determining the date that your check arrives. And, the IRS is reminding taxpayers not to contact their financial institutions or the IRS with payment timing questions.
Yes, Payments Are Automatic
Payments will be automatic for eligible taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return, those who receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who didn’t file a tax return. (If you’re in this group and you don’t receive a payment for any reason, you can claim your payment when you file a 2020 tax return.)
Payments will also be automatic for anyone who successfully registered for the first payment online at IRS.gov using the agency’s Non-Filers tool by November 21, 2020, or who submitted a simplified tax return that has been processed by the IRS.
Who Is Eligible?
Eligible individuals will receive checks of up to $600 for individuals ($1200 for married couples) and up to $600 for each qualifying child. The amount of the checks would start to phaseout for those earning more than $75,000 ($150,000 for joint returns and $112,500 for heads of household).
As before, dependents who are 17 and older are not eligible for the child payment. This is important to understand because there had been some discussions about changing the eligibility for dependents: that did not happen.
How Will You Get Paid?
As with the first round of stimulus checks, most folks will receive payment by direct deposit. Social Security and other beneficiaries who received the first round of stimulus checks via Direct Express will receive this second payment the same way.
If you didn’t receive your earlier stimulus payment by direct deposit, you will likely receive a check or, in some instances, a debit card. If you don’t receive a direct deposit by early January, watch the mail for either a paper check or a debit card.
That said, the IRS notes that the form of payment for the second stimulus check may be different than for the first stimulus check. Some people who received a paper check last time might receive a debit card this time, and some people who received a debit card last time may receive a paper check.
What About Those Debit Cards?
Watch the mail carefully! Last time, some taxpayers weren’t expecting them and accidentally tossed them in the trash.
If Treasury sends you a debit card, it will be issued by Treasury’s financial agent, MetaBank®, N.A. The card will be sent in a white envelope with the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal. The card has the VisaV name on the front of the Card and the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A. on the back of the card.
Information included with the card will explain that this is your Economic Impact Payment or stimulus payment. More information about these cards is available at EIPcard.com.
Will You Get Anything With Your Payment?
As before, you’ll receive an IRS notice, or letter, after you receive a payment showing the amount of the payment. Keep this for your tax records.
What If You Have Changed Your Address Or Bank Account?
The IRS will use the data already in its systems to send the new payments:
- If your direct deposit information is on file, you will receive the payment that way.
- If your direct deposit information is not on file, you will receive the payment as a check or debit card in the mail.
What If You’re A Non-Filer and Didn’t Register With IRS.gov?
If you’re eligible for a stimulus payment but DO NOT generally file a tax return and you DID NOT register with the using the Non-Filer tool, you won’t receive an automatic payment. You can still claim your payment when you file your 2020 federal income tax return.
What If You Didn’t Receive Your First Stimulus Check?
If you are an eligible individual and you did not receive a stimulus check earlier this year, you will be able to claim it when you file your 2020 taxes in 2021. This is also true if you do not receive your second stimulus check.
If you didn’t receive a check, the IRS urges you to review the eligibility criteria when you file your 2020 taxes; many people, including recent college graduates, may be eligible to claim it. The stimulus checks will be referred to as the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR. You can read more about the Form 1040 for 2020 – including where the RRC can be found – here.
“Throughout this challenging year, the IRS has worked around the clock to provide Economic Impact Payments and critical taxpayer services to the American people,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We are working swiftly to distribute this second round of payments as quickly as possible. This work continues throughout the holidays and into the new year as we prepare for the upcoming filing season. We urge everyone to visit IRS.gov in the coming days for the latest information on these payments and for important information and assistance with filing their 2021 taxes.”
Can You Check The Status Of Your Payment?
As before, the IRS will make the status of first and second payments available on the Get My Payment tool, available in English and Spanish on IRS.gov. You’ll need to be patient: the tool currently offline because it’s being updated with new information. The IRS anticipates it will be available in a few days.
Once the tool is back online, you can check the status of your check. According to the IRS, the data is updated once per day, overnight, so there’s no need to check more often.
What If Congress Approves Bigger Stimulus Checks?
As for those ongoing discussions to boost the check totals to $2,000 per person? If additional legislation is passed, EIPs that have been issued will be topped up as quickly as possible.