SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The rollout of a long-awaited second round of stimulus payments is off to a rocky start – if you haven’t yet received any funds here is the latest information from the IRS and what you can do to troubleshoot.
On Monday, Jan. 4, the IRS announced that its Get My Payment tool is now live for people who need to check on the status of their second stimulus check or direct deposit.
Many people reported receiving their $600 direct payment around Friday, Jan. 1, after months of back-and-forth by lawmakers to get another relief package finalized.
The COVID relief bill was further stalled at the end of December when President Donald Trump demanded a $2,000 direct payment at the last minute. This push for a higher check was passed by the Democrat-controlled House but then blocked by Senate Republicans. Trump ended up signing a $900 billion pandemic relief package on Dec. 28, 2020, which kept the $600 direct payments.
The IRS website was flooded with visitors on Monday, causing loading issues and prompting the following message: “Due to high demand, you may have to wait longer than usual to access this site. We appreciate your patience.”
For the people who still have not received the initial $1,200 stimulus payment, the IRS said the Get My Payment tool will show the status of both payments.
“You will be able to check the status of your Economic Impact Payment 1 and Economic Impact Payment 2 payments. The status includes the date of the payment and the method (direct deposit or mailed payment date). Mailed payments will require more processing and mailing time.”
People who try to check their status may get past the loading screen but still see “payment status unavailable.”
The IRS said this message means it can’t determine your payment eligibility.
“Two common reasons are that you didn’t file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return or your recently filed return has not been fully processed,” the IRS said.
The tool is updated once overnight, so there is no need to refresh multiple times during the day.
If you haven’t received a payment or the amount is less than it should be by the time you file your 2020 tax return, you can claim the amount due as a Recovery Rebate Credit.
“The credit is figured like the Economic Impact Payment, except that the credit eligibility and the credit amount are based on the 2020 tax year information, including income,” according to the IRS.
“Because of the speed at which IRS issued this second round of payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or no longer active,” the IRS warned. “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.”
Some taxpayers who use services such as H&R Block and TurboTax have already complained that the IRS’s Get My Payment tool informed them their stimulus payment was sent to the wrong bank account.
Samantha Smith of Dallas said she received her $1,200 relief payment in the spring via direct deposit without any issues. But her payment for this round of economic relief went to an account she did not recognize.
She contacted TurboTax, which prepared her most recent tax filing, and was told if she paid her tax preparation fees with her refund due, rather than paying for it up front, then the second payment may have been sent to a TurboTax bank. Several other taxpayers who paid their fees the same way also reported delays.
There is no exact measure at this time of how many taxpayers were impacted. The IRS did not have a comment early Tuesday, Jan. 5, on the scope or cause of the problem.
TurboTax said that the IRS is the “sole party with the ability to determine eligibility and distribute stimulus payments” and that by law, the financial institution must return the payment to the IRS if an account is no longer active.
H&R Block said it’s looking into the issue.
“The IRS Get My Payment website may display an account number you don’t recognize. If you took a Refund Transfer, it may be reflecting that account number. Check your 2019 return to confirm,” the company said on Twitter.
H&R Block said the stimulus money would eventually make its way to customers via direct deposit, check or Emerald Card.
“But don’t worry – we have sent these payments on to the method you chose for Refund Transfer: direct deposit, check or Emerald Card. The money should be there by the end of the day.”
The company said customers with questions should contact them. They do caution that wait times may be longer than usual.
The IRS says bank account or mailing information cannot be changed now, and that the stimulus payments are being sent out based on the routing information already on file from the first round of stimulus checks. During that first round of payments, recipients were able to update or add that information. The agency recommends that you claim a Recovery Rebate Credit with your 2020 tax return instead.
If you receive government benefits such as Social Security, Veteran’s Benefits or other assistance through the Direct Express debit card, the IRS cautions that “the bank information shown in Get My Payment will be a number associated with your Direct Express card and may be a number you don’t recognize.”
Some more frequently asked questions about the stimulus checks are answered here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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