Why You Can Trust Bankrate
Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make smart financial choices. Weve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that were putting your interests first. All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and trustworthy.
Our banking reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most the best banks, latest rates, different types of accounts, money-saving tips and more so you can feel confident as youre managing your money.
Questions And Answers About The First Economic Impact Payment Topic F: Payment Issued But Lost Stolen Destroyed Or Not Received
A1. If you received your payment by check and it was lost, stolen or destroyed, you may need to request a payment trace so the IRS can determine if your payment was cashed. See How do I request a payment trace to track my first or second Economic Impact Payments?
If a trace is initiated and the IRS determines that the check wasnt cashed, the IRS will credit your account for that payment, but the IRS cannot reissue your payment. Instead, you will need to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return if eligible.
Note: If you are filing your 2020 tax return before your trace is complete, do not include the payment amount on line 16 or 19 of the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet. If you do, you may receive a notice saying your 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit was changed, but an adjustment will be made after the trace is complete and it is determined your payment has not been cashed. You will not need to take any additional action to receive the credit.
If you do not request a trace on your payment, you may receive an error when claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return. Since the payment was issued to you, you may not be eligible for any credit.
How we process your claim
Well process your claim for a missing payment in one of two ways:
|If you live in|
Appearance Of The Stimulus Check And Debit Card
The stimulus check will come inside a white-colored envelope. It will be sent out by the United States Treasury Department. It will also have Economic Impact Payment clearly written on the box for memos. The details have been given out by the IRS. The stimulus check will come with an expiry date for one year later.
EIP prepaid debit cards will also arrive in a similar white envelope. However, it will also have a US Treasury Department seal on the inside. Inside the envelope, there will be a Visa card with the name of the bank that issued it, written in the form of Metabank, N.A. The information will be written on the cards back. The envelope will also have paper and other literature explaining that the card is the Economic Impact Payment. However, individuals who are Social Security beneficiaries are not expected to receive such cards.
Read Also: When Are The Stimulus Checks Being Sent Out
First Step: The Irs Tool Get My Payment
This tool by the IRS provides a tracker of its own for a stimulus check. It also gives you information regarding the exact payment schedule, approximately when to expect the money, and what method the stimulus check will be paid by. It will also let you know if there have been any errors during processing the payment. The tool is named Get My Payment. It is especially useful for people checking whether they do not know their qualification status for the stimulus check. It will also help you know if the tax agency knows of your eligibility.
However, the tool cannot provide any specific dates as to when the funds might actually arrive mailbox which is a major downside. This is exactly the place that the USPS tool comes in. As most stimulus checks are expected to come over the mail service, the USPS has launched Informed Delivery. It is the service that will be the next point in tracking the stimulus check. This article will detail everything you need to know about the service from USPS.
Is It Illegal To Open Someone Elses Mail With My Address
Yes. It is a federal crime to open or destroy mail that is not intended for you. The law provides that you can not destroy, hide, open, or embezzle mail that is not addressed to you. If you intentionally open or destroy someone elses mail, you are committing obstruction of correspondence, which is a felony.
Read Also: Stimulus Check Update For Ssi
Direct Deposit Transfers Are Still On
Ive tracked my stimulus checks and Im still waiting. What do I do next? you may ask.
Wait for updates. Currently, the IRS is still sending direct deposit transfers. The agency sent its first payments last December 29 and reminded recipients that they will continue sending payments until January 15. It remains unclear if the Treasury or IRS will finish bank account transfers by then. People who encounter problems with stimulus checks via direct deposit, however, will be unable to address them until the next tax season.
If you are eligible, you dont have to do anything apart from tracking your stimulus check provided that the IRS already has your mailing or banking information on file. You also cant do much if you want to get a mailed check instead of a direct deposit.
For instance, you cant correct banking information or register a new direct deposit account with the IRS. If the agency fails to deliver the payment, claim it on your taxes.
What If The Irs Has The Wrong Bank Account
Unfortunately, the IRS says you can’t change the bank account it has on file for you unless you get the “Need More Information” message. The IRS is initially relying on bank account information that people gave it through a variety of ways: their 2020 tax return, their 2019 tax return if their 2020 return isn’t yet filed, information you gave the IRS on the “Get My Payment” site last year or information you entered through the “Non-filer” portal last year.
It will also tap federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration or Veteran Affairs to get bank account information for people who receive benefits through those agencies.
So what happens if your bank account changed since you provided that information to the IRS? The bad news is you may have a delay in getting your funds but you will eventually get them, the IRS insists. The agency said payments that are sent to accounts that have been closed will be returned to the tax agency. At that point, the IRS will send a payment through paper check or pre-paid debit card to your mailing address.
Recommended Reading: Why My Stimulus Check Late
How The Treasury Offset Program Works
Here’s how the Treasury Offset Program works:
If you owe more money than the payment you were going to receive, then TOP will send the entire amount to the other government agency. If you owe less, TOP will send the agency the amount you owed, and then send you the remaining balance.
Here’s an example: you were going to receive a $1,500 federal tax refund. But you are delinquent on a student loan and have $1,000 outstanding. TOP will deduct $1,000 from your tax refund and send it to the correct government agency. It will also send you a notice of its action, along with the remaining $500 that was due to you as a tax refund.
The Internal Revenue Service can help you understand more about tax refund offsets.
The Second Step: Use Informed Delivery
Informed Delivery, from the USPS, is a mail-tracking service that is free of charge. It automatically looks at your letters. Then, should you choose so, it will send an alert every time one of your letters is out for delivery. The alert will include an image of the letter. The third stimulus check letter also will be kept a note of.
The USPS system for mail sorting is automated. All letters running through it have an automatically created digital image. The image captures the front side of any mail that has the size of a letter. As such, any person who signs up for the USPS service has access to this information. They can do so by telling the USPS to send a notification when any mail is out for delivery that has your name. However, it should be noted that as many as three days can be taken for the account to get activated.
Under the notification service, an email will be sent every morning from Monday to Saturday. The email will be the notification about any letter that is on the way. The email will also contain a black and white photo of the face of the letter. Informed Delivery is also available on iOS and Android as dedicated applications.
However, it is important to know that all mail that is scanned in the post office will send out a notification when you sign up. It is not exclusive to the stimulus check. The service can be opted out whenever you want to.
Also Check: How Can I Check On My Stimulus Check
When Should I File A Payment Trace For My Missing Money
The IRS also offers a payment trace as a way to find your funds, including from missing stimulus checks. You can request a trace — which means filing an inquiry into the location of your IRS money — by mailing or faxing Form 3911 to the tax agency. Even if the IRS says you’re ineligible for advance payments, it’s best to submit a payment trace in case there’s a portal error.
Your payment will be traceable if it has been at least five days since the deposit date and the bank hasn’t received the money, four weeks since the check was mailed or six weeks if it was mailed to a forwarded address listed by USPS. If the check was mailed to a foreign address, you can ask for a payment trace after nine weeks.
What Exactly Should I Look For In The Mail
According to the IRS, paper checks will be in a white envelope from the US Department of the Treasury and will be labeled as an Economic Impact Payment in the memo field.
EIP cards will also come in a white envelope from the Department of the Treasury. Its a Visa card and the issuing bank is MetaBank, N.A., which is displayed on the back. There will be information included with the card that will explain its an Economic Impact Payment.
Also Check: Green Dot Stimulus Check 2021
Use The Usps Informed Delivery Service To Track Your Money To Your Mailbox
Informed Delivery is a free mail-tracking service from the USPS that automatically scans your letters and can alert you with an image each time a letter with your name on it is about to be delivered such as your third stimulus payment.
When the USPS runs mailed letters through its automated mail sorting equipment, it automatically creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail. Anyone who signs up for Informed Delivery can access the information by asking the USPS to notify you when each piece of mail with your name on it is on the way. Note that it can take three days to activate your account.
As part of the program, youll receive an email each morning, Monday through Saturday, to notify you of any mail being delivered to you. Youll also see a grayscale image of the front of the letter. Informed Delivery has free apps for Android and iPhone you can also use.
Just be aware that signing up means youll see all your mail thats scanned by the post office, not just your stimulus check. You can cancel the service at any time. See the last section for details on how to sign up for Informed Delivery.
How To Track Your Stimulus Check With The Get My Payment Tool
The IRS’s “Get My Payment” tool may be used to track the condition of stimulus checks. The website serves as a virtual gateway for finding out when and how qualifying beneficiaries may expect to be paid.
“As we continue to process tax returns, we’re issuing the third wave of Economic Impact Payments to qualified taxpayers each week,” said the site’s statement, as per The Sun. It may take longer, according to the IRS. Direct deposit, a paper check delivered by snail mail, or a debit card is the three payment options used by the agency.
There is also a possibility of getting extra money. The site explains what is known as “plus-up payments,” which provide more assistance to people who may need it depending on their 2020 tax return filings.
It is also worth noting that if you received a follow-up, or plus-up, stimulus payment after filing your 2020 tax returns, the amount of the original payment will not appear in your online portal. The amount of the plus-up payment will be shown. The status of the stimulus check is the same, according to Digital Marketer.
When you enter the Get My Payment tracker, you will see one of the following notifications: payment status, payment status is not available, and need more information.
If it says “payment status is not available”, it indicates that your stimulus payment status has not been updated on the tracker, either because it has not been processed or because you are not qualified for a payment based on the IRS’s information.
Don’t Miss: What Does The Stimulus Debit Card Look Like
Can I Change My Bank Account Information
If you’ve closed the bank account the IRS has on file, or the organization has incorrect information, that will likely be the cause of the delay. Banks will return stimulus payments to the IRS, which will then be mailed to you as a physical check.
The portal does not enable you to update your bank information – and the IRS is asking people not to call, as its phone staff are unable to change the information on file.
The best way to make a change, the IRS says, is to file your 2020 taxes with your current address and updated account information. Just be aware this could impact the amount you receive if your adjusted gross income rose above 75,000 dollars last year.
Unclaimed Federal Tax Refunds
If you are eligible for a federal tax refund and dont file a return, then your refund will go unclaimed. Even if you aren’t required to file a return, it might benefit you to file if:
Federal taxes were withheld from your pay
You qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit
You may not have filed a tax return because your wages were below the filing requirement. But you can still file a return within three years of the filing deadline to get your refund.
How Long Do You Have To Wait Before You Get Your Check
People who will receive their second stimulus package via mail either as a prepaid debit card or a paper check can expect the payment from now through January 15. Once January 15 arrives and you havent received your second stimulus check, youll have to claim your money with your tax filing in 2021.
You may receive the payment later since the timing would depend on:
- The length of time it takes for the IRS to process your tax return, which can include your second stimulus check.
- The time you file your 2020 taxes. A probable deadline is April 15, unless you file for an extension.
- Potential complications that could arise in your tax situation.
Some people who received their payment via direct deposit experienced delays. If you encounter any holdup with any of the IRS payment methods, youll need to wait until you can file a claim. Combining the delivery of the second stimulus payment with 2020 tax returns will cause delays for many recipients since the differences in tax circumstances will cause some people to file their taxes as early as January or as late as April.
When To Request A Payment Trace
|Method of payment|
|Check mailed to a foreign address||9 weeks|
At first glance, the steps to request a payment trace can look daunting. You’ll need to print and mail the completed Form 3911 from the IRS to start tracing your child tax credit payment. If you need help completing the form, contact your local tax consultant. Before you do, there are a few pointers to keep in mind.
- An IRS representative told CNET that there isn’t an abbreviation or code to include in the “Inquiry” field. You’ll need to be as specific as possible about what payment you’d like to track. Make sure to specify that you’re looking to trace a child tax credit check and the month the payment was disbursed.
- If you filed taxes jointly, both parents will need to sign the form to start the payment trace process.
- Be sure to check whether or not your money was sent via direct deposit or check. If your banking information is listed on the Child Tax Credit Update Portal, we recommend choosing the direct deposit box.
- You’ll need to mail the form where you would usually send a paper tax return in your area. The IRS has a list of addresses and fax numbers to help.
- You should not request a payment trace to determine your eligibility or to confirm your child tax credit amount.
- It could take up to 60 days to receive a response.
You May Like: Next Batch Of Stimulus Payments