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What to do if your first stimulus check still hasn’t arrived, including who to call – CNET

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What’s the right way to report a missing stimulus check to the IRS? We’ll tell you.


Sarah Tew/CNET

As key leaders in Washington continue to work towards a new stimulus bill with a second stimulus check, you may be one of millions who qualified for the first stimulus check, but never got it.

The Internal Revenue Service is still delivering the remaining stimulus payments from the initial round and coordinating with local and regional agencies to identify people who may not know they qualified in the first place. For example, an estimated 9 million people who don’t normally file taxes can still claim their check by Nov. 21.

If you never got the first stimulus check, but meet the eligibility requirements, follow these steps to track down and file a missing payment report with the IRS (scroll to the end for two phone numbers to call). The CNET stimulus check calculator can estimate your payment. And here are the most important things to know about stimulus checks right now. This story updates often.

I think my first stimulus check is late. When should I report it to the IRS? 

If you’re certain you meet the qualifications to receive the first stimulus check, these are warning signs that you should contact the IRS right now:

  • The Get My Payment tracking tool reports the IRS made your payment weeks ago and you haven’t received it (see below).
  • You received a confirmation letter from the IRS that your payment was sent, but you didn’t get the funds.
  • You think you accidentally threw your prepaid card or check in the trash (see below).
  • You suspect someone stole your check or otherwise defrauded you.


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Keep reading for more on these issues and for phone numbers to call to contact the IRS.

Do I need to file another form with the IRS?

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or receive government benefits, the IRS should automatically send your check without you having to do anything. 

If, however, you’re a US citizen or permanent resident, had a gross income in 2019 under $12,200 — or $24,400 as a married couple — and didn’t file a return for 2018 or 2019, you may need to give the IRS a bit of information before it can process your payment. Head to the Non-Filers site and see if the IRS needs something from you.

The nonfilers tool will be available until Nov. 21, after extending the deadline from Oct. 15. The IRS initially said that people who registered for a payment using the tool before the initial Oct. 15 deadline are expected to receive their check by the end of the year. It’s unclear if that would also apply to people who file after Oct. 15.

What if I received a confirmation letter in the mail but no check?

If you received a letter confirming the payment, but not the check, it’s time to reach out. The IRS protocol is to send the letter 15 days after issuing the payment. 

Postal mailbox

Is your stimulus check inside?


Sarah Tew/CNET

Try the IRS Get My Payment tracking tool

It’s worth visiting the IRS’ online portal designed to track the status of your 2020 payment. Generally, it should tell you when your check will be processed and how you’ll receive it (for example, as a paper check in the mail). If the Get My Payment tool doesn’t give you information you can understand or says your check is on the way and you haven’t received it, you may need to eventually report the discrepancy to the IRS. 

What does the ‘Need More Information’ message from the Get My Payment app mean?

If the Get My Payment tool gave you a payment date but you still haven’t received your money, the IRS may need more information. Check the Get My Payment tool again and if it reports “Need More Information,” this could indicate that your check has been returned because the post office was unable to deliver it, an IRS representative told CNET.

After you see the “Need More Information” message, the online tool will let you enter your banking information to receive your payment straight to your bank account. The IRS said If you don’t provide your bank account information, the agency will hold your payment till it receives a current mailing address. Head to the IRS change-address page for how to update your address with the IRS.

What if I accidentally threw my first check or debit card away?

Four million people were to receive their stimulus money on a prepaid debit card called the Economic Impact Payment Card, instead of a paper check. The EIP card arrives in a plain envelope, the IRS said, with “Money Network Cardholder Services” as the sender. 

Some people, taking it for junk mail, may have mistakenly thrown these letters away. If you’ve misplaced or thrown away your card, the EIP card service has an FAQ on what to do if your card is lost or stolen. You can also call 800-240-8100 to request a replacement. It’s free, according to a spokesperson for the Treasury Department. To request a new card, press option 2 when prompted. 

However, the EIP card website says, “Your Card will be deactivated to prevent anyone from using it and a new replacement Card will be ordered. Fees may apply.”

We recommend calling the above number for a lost or stolen card and speaking to a representative.

Could the federal government have redirected my first payment?

If you owe child support, the IRS can redirect your payment to cover past-due support. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service will send you a notice if this happens.

Could the IRS have sent my first check to a closed bank account? 

Your check may have bounced back to the IRS if the agency tried to send your payment to a now-closed bank account or to a temporary prepaid debit card a tax preparer set up for you. If your payment was returned to the IRS, the agency will mail your check to the current address it has on file for you.

US currency: $20 and $100 bills

Where’s your stimulus money? A number of factors could be causing the holdup.


James Martin/CNET

What if my first payment was only a part of what I think I’m owed? 

A different, but related, issue could be a change in your income in 2020. In some cases, the IRS may owe you more money than you received if the income figure used to calculate your payment from your tax returns in 2018 or 2019 is less in 2020. 

Likewise, if you now have a new dependent, such as a child, who isn’t reflected on your tax returns, you may be owed more money. In either case, the IRS said, you can claim the additional amount on your 2020 tax return when you file next year. We recommend keeping a detailed record so you don’t forget. Here’s how to claim a missing dependent sooner than next year’s taxes.

What do I do if I suspect mail fraud or a scam?

Though it’s uncommon, you may believe you’ve been scammed out of your payment or had it stolen. The Federal Trade Commission has a website where you can report a stolen stimulus check. We’ve asked the IRS what other recourse you have if this situation applies to you, and we’ll update this article when we hear back. If you’re worried about theft, you can sign up for a free USPS service that will send you a picture of every piece of mail coming your way — including your stimulus payment.

How to call the IRS to ask about an absent stimulus check

If you do contact the IRS by phone, it’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time for the call. We wouldn’t be surprised if call volumes are up, or if conversations take some time. It’s also a smart idea to gather your information in front of you before you make the call, like a copy of your most recent tax ID and the letter that the IRS sent if you received one. 

Within 15 days after it sends out your payment, the IRS should mail you a letter confirming the payment. At the bottom of the letter is a number you can call for more information: 800-919-9835.

In May, the IRS added 3,500 telephone representatives to help with potential problems regarding payments. The IRS help number is 800-829-1040.

Source
CNET.COM

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