Do not fret if you still haven’t received their stimulus checks! Don’t despair: IRS’ Get My Payment tool can assist with tracking down and monitoring the status of your 2021 check.
Payments like these are designed to give people immediate relief, so why haven’t you received one yet? Here are five possible reasons.
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1. You didn’t file a tax return
Millions of Americans who typically don’t file taxes will need to do so this year in order to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit check from the IRS. These people include social security beneficiaries and veteran beneficiaries as well as people whose income falls below the federal poverty threshold. There’s an area on their 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR that allows them to claim this advance payment from Uncle Sam.
The IRS reported it sent out 80 million payments during its inaugural week of processing them, either directly depositing checks into individuals’ bank accounts or mailing out pre-paid debit cards for those without direct deposit information on file with them. Subsequent rounds will also be distributed, with some 4 million people receiving pre-paid debit cards while 17 million having their check directly deposited into their bank account.
As the IRS releases these third-round payments, some are finding that theirs hasn’t arrived yet. One possible cause could be outdated bank account information on file with them being outdated or no longer valid; this can often happen after switching banks after filing taxes for 2019. As soon as someone changes banking institutions after doing so, any information shared would no longer match up and they may never receive their stimulus check from the IRS.
Moving can present similar difficulties. Your bank account information on file with the IRS at tax filing time may no longer be active – in which case, updating it in your IRS online account to ensure your check reaches you is required to avoid being intercepted at customs.
If you have already filed your return but your check still hasn’t arrived, it could be because the IRS hasn’t processed it yet. That’s why electronic filing of returns can help speed up their processing time; quicker filing means sooner access to stimulus checks!
2. You don’t have a bank account
About one in nine households lack bank accounts, and one third lack the full range of banking services. Households without bank accounts may use alternative financial services such as check-cashing services, cashier’s checks or money orders to manage their money; this can prove expensive in the long run; one study discovered that one person using these alternative services for bill payment could spend over $500 annually when using standard checking accounts would only have cost $120 annually in transactions fees.
Problems associated with unbanking are especially acute for society’s most vulnerable members, including homeless individuals, low-income families, immigrants and minorities. According to a 2021 FDIC survey, people citing various reasons for not banking include distrust in banks (the top reason), too poor to open accounts or preferring having more privacy and control of finances by staying away from banks altogether.
If you are unbanked, it’s crucial to take steps to ensure you receive your stimulus check or find a safe and reliable method to cash it. Many banks are helping those without accounts by waiving fees and relaxing restrictions for cashing non-customer checks like economic impact payments being distributed in three batches this year. You can track the status of your payment through IRS’ “Get My Payment” portal which updates overnight.
An electronic wallet may also help you deposit and spend your stimulus check, such as PayPal, Venmo and Netspend services allow users to cash checks and credit them back into their accounts but may charge fees – some services even waive them altogether if you wait until after knowing exactly where you will spend it – however it is wise to research these services thoroughly, compare their pros and cons and choose one that works for you best.
3. You don’t have a Social Security number
IRS has been diligent in its delivery of second round stimulus checks into bank accounts across America, but many Americans who still haven’t seen any cash can’t wait any longer – many can only afford a short wait before needing assistance themselves.
There are several steps you can take to expedite the process of receiving your tax return check more quickly. First and foremost is making sure the IRS has your correct address and phone number on file – this can be accomplished using Get My Payment tool on their website or calling their help line and providing them with your information over the phone; just remember it may take up to a few weeks before everything updates in their system.
Be mindful of the fact that the IRS can only send out so many paper checks each week, and if your direct deposit account is set up with them they’ll deposit your money automatically into your account. Otherwise they will mail a pre-paid debit card instead – something they are doing for 4 million+ individuals without direct deposit information on file with them.
Be sure to have a valid Social Security number as the IRS uses this to assess eligibility and send checks out. If you don’t already have one, apply here for one now.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that the IRS cannot guarantee you’ll get your check if you owe outstanding debts or back taxes. If you owe state taxes or child support payments backdated before tax season started, your check may be taken by the IRS as payment towards those debts; and creditors who owe you money must be paid immediately in order to prevent having their checks withheld from being sent your way. You can find more information on managing debts and back taxes here.
4. You moved
Moving is often the culprit when people don’t receive their stimulus check as promised; especially nowadays with people moving often and trying to keep track of all of the mail sent by government entities; even if you haven’t moved recently it could still have become misplaced during transit.
If you want to know if the IRS has sent your third stimulus payment, the easiest way is through their check-tracking tool. Direct deposits or paper checks have already started going out directly or in waves this week to 80 million Americans; more payments should come soon thereafter. Initially payments will go to people whose 2018 or 2019 tax returns include information for direct deposit from them – the IRS currently only has that information from direct deposits with individuals who filed on time (ie deposited prior to April 17).
The second wave will go to people who signed up for direct deposit when filing their 2020 taxes, while a final third wave will include those qualifying due to income phaseouts.
At the IRS, it’s vitally important that your address information remains up-to-date and accurate. When the time comes for them to send your check, the IRS relies on this data for identity verification; without it on file, any delays could prevent payment being sent out promptly.
Note: If you receive a message stating, “Payment Status #2 – Not Available,” that indicates the IRS was unable to process your paperwork in time and your check won’t arrive until later in the mail. Be wary of scammers pretending to be government representatives demanding personal data in return for stimulus payments – this activity is illegal! Report any suspicious activity immediately by reporting it directly with the Federal Trade Commission who have provided this handy guide on how you can report such activity here.