The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that the “Get My Payment” tool is now open. Folks looking for information about their stimulus checks (Economic Impact Payments, or EIPs) can now check the status of both their first and second payments by using the Get My Payment tool, available in English and Spanish only on IRS.gov.
The “Get My Payment” tool will allow you to confirm that:
- Whether the IRS has sent your second stimulus payment.
- Whether the IRS sent your first stimulus payment. Not that some people received their first stimulus in partial payments; if you received partial payments, the tool will show only the most recent.
- Whether to expect your stimulus payment by direct deposit or mail.
According to the IRS, data is updated once per day overnight, so there’s no need to check more than once per day.
The IRS advises folks to use the tool to check on the status of their stimulus payment, but not to call. The IRS phone assistors do not have additional information beyond what’s available on IRS.gov and in the Get My Payment tool.
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.
To use the Get My Payment tool, you must first verify your identity by answering security questions. If the information you enter does not match IRS records, you will receive an error message. To avoid this:
- Double-check the information requested;
- Make sure what you enter is accurate;
- Try entering your street address in a different way (for example: 123 N Main St instead of 123 North Main St.); and
- Use the US Postal Service’s ZIP Lookup tool to look up the standard version of your address, and enter it into exactly as it appears on file with the Postal Service.
If your answers do not match the IRS records three times, you’ll be locked out of Get My Payment for security reasons. If that happens, you must wait 24 hours and try again. If you can’t verify your identity, you won’t be able to use Get My Payment. Unfortunately, there’s no fix for that: the IRS says not to not contact them.
However, if you verified your identity and received “Payment Status Not Available,” this means that the IRS cannot determine your eligibility for a payment right now. There are several reasons this could happen, including:
- You didn’t file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return; or
- Your recently filed return has not been fully processed.
Again, the IRS says there’s no fix for that and you should not contact them.
Timing Of Checks
As noted earlier, initial direct deposit payments began arriving last week. Paper checks were mailed beginning on Wednesday, December 30.
Direct deposit payments may take several days to post to individual accounts. Some folks may have seen the payments as pending or as provisional payments in accounts before the scheduled payment date of January 4, 2021, which was the official date that funds were available.
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. Mailed payments will require more processing and mailing time.
Eligible check recipients who live abroad will have longer wait times for checks as disruptions to air travel and mail delivery in some countries will slow delivery.
Forms Of Payment
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.
Please watch the mail carefully! Last time, some taxpayers weren’t expecting those debit cards 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 Visa name on the front of the Card and the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A. on the back of the card. More information about these cards is available at EIPcard.com.
If you’re eligible to receive this second payment, you don’t need to do anything to receive a stimulus check.
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 For A Payment?
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.
You can find out more about phaseouts and eligibility here. Additional information is also available on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website at IRS.gov/EIP.
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.
Some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or no longer active. By law, the financial institution must return the payment to the IRS, they cannot hold and issue the payment to an individual when the account is no longer active.
The IRS cannot change payment information, including bank account or mailing information. If an eligible taxpayer does not get a payment or it is less than expected, it may be claimed on the 2020 tax return as the Recovery Rebate Credit. Remember, Economic Impact Payments are an advance payment of what will be called the Recovery Rebate Credit on the 2020 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.
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.
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.