3 signs it's time to contact the IRS about a missing stimulus checkJanuary 5, 2021
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- The IRS is currently delivering the second round of stimulus payments. Most should arrive by the end of January.
- If you didn't receive your first or second payment by direct deposit or mail, you can claim it on your 2020 tax return.
- In the meantime, you probably don't need to contact the IRS about a missing stimulus check unless you have reason to believe it was lost or stolen.
- Every stimulus check recipient will get a confirmation letter in the mail. If you received the letter but no money, you can initiate a trace on your payment by calling the IRS at 800-919-9835.
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Millions of Americans are getting a second stimulus check this month.
You don't need to sign up for anything to receive your second stimulus check — most people who get federal benefits, filed their 2019 tax return, or used the IRS nonfilers tool, and meet the eligibility requirements for a payment, will receive theirs automatically.
Some US citizens living abroad are also eligible to get a stimulus check, but the IRS will not send direct deposits to foreign banks. If the bank account listed on your tax return is a non-US bank, the IRS will send a paper check or debit card.
If you don't get your second stimulus check — formally called an Economic Impact Payment, or EIP — by the end of January but think you qualify, you can claim it on your 2020 tax return, which is due April 15.
If you still haven't received your first stimulus check, you can also claim it on your 2020 tax return.
You probably don't need to contact the IRS about a missing payment, unless you have reason to believe it was lost or stolen. Here are a few signs it's time to get in touch with the IRS:
1. You received a letter in the mail confirming your payment, but never got the money
The federal government mailed paper notices to all first-round stimulus check recipients within 15 days of issuing their payment. Letters will also be mailed for the second round of stimulus.
The letter states the amount of the payment and method of delivery. One side is in English and the other is in Spanish, and it is signed by President Donald Trump. There is a notice date and number listed in the upper right corner.
If you received this letter (Notice 1444) in the mail and didn't get your payment, you can check the "Get My Payment" tool on the IRS website to double-check that it has been issued.
You can initiate a trace on your payment by calling the IRS at 800-919-9835 (expect long wait times) or submitting Form 3911.
2. It has been more than 5 days since your scheduled direct deposit date
The "Get My Payment" tool should be able to tell you when your payment was (or will be) deposited into your bank account.
If it has been more than five days since the scheduled arrival date, the IRS suggests checking with your bank first to see if they have any information about the deposit. Though many banks have stopped seizing stimulus payments to offset unpaid balances, some may still be doing it.
You can initiate a trace on your payment by calling the IRS at 800-919-9835 (expect long wait times) or submitting Form 3911 (instructions here).
3. Your payment was issued as a paper check, but it has been more than 4 weeks since the scheduled arrival date
If you expected your payment to arrive as a check, two things could have happened: Your check was stolen or the United States Postal Service was unable to deliver it.
Again, you should first use the "Get My Payment" tool to see if your payment was issued and how.
If more than four weeks have passed since your check was mailed — or more than six weeks have passed if the USPS has a forwarding address for you — and you aren't prompted to enter bank information online, then you can initiate a trace on your payment by calling the IRS at 800-919-9835 (expect long wait times) or submitting Form 3911.
If you live abroad, you can initiate a trace on your payment after nine weeks have passed since it was mailed.
Alternatively, the IRS is encouraging anyone who is entitled to a stimulus check but didn't receive it to file their 2020 tax return by the April 15 deadline to claim money they are owed.
Can I track my stimulus check in the mail?
Yes, you can track your stimulus check in the mail by using the USPS Informed Delivery system if it's available for your mailing address.
When you sign up for a free online account, you can get notifications with a grayscale image of letters and packages that are getting delivered soon.
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