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Where's My Third Stimulus Check? 5 Reasons It Hasn't Arrived Yet

   March 23, 2021 8:12 AM
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by Robin Saks Frankel - Forbes Advisor Staff

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Where is my $1400 stimulus check? Reasons why third stimulus check is delayed
 
Millions of Americans are celebrating a bank account boost: The IRS has sent 90 million stimulus payment direct deposits that started landing in bank accounts on March 17.

But if yours hasn't arrived, don't worry just yet. The IRS will continue to send more rounds in the weeks to come. Here's why you haven't received your third stimulus payment yet.

Calculator: Estimate How Much Your Third Stimulus Check Could Be

1. Your Payment Hasn't Been Processed Yet If you haven't received a direct deposit or physical payment and the IRS' Get My Payment Tool says "Payment status not available," don't panic.

On that same page it should also state that "If you get this message, either we have not yet processed your payment, or you are not eligible for a payment."

The eligibility requirements have changed from the last two rounds of payments, so pay attention to the new numbers to make sure you actually qualify this time around.

If the message you get from the Get My Payment Tool says "Need more information," then your payment was returned to the IRS because it was unable to be delivered. In this case only, people who get this message can use Get My Payment to enter their correct bank account information. For direct deposit, this includes the name of your bank, your bank account number and your routing number. Do not try to contact the IRS via phone to provide bank information.

Know that the IRS only updates the Get My Payment Tool information once per day, typically overnight, so refreshing throughout the day won't yield any new information.

2. Your Contact Information Has Changed Since Your 2019 Tax Filing According to moving tools and analysis company MYMOVE study of USPS change-of-address request data, 16 million Americans temporarily moved during the pandemic—if that's you, the IRS may not have your latest address on file.

And even if you filed your taxes early this year, the IRS may not have processed your 2020 tax return. About 6.7 million tax returns are stuck in a backlog waiting to be processed, according to a March 12 story from The Washington Post.

If your mailing address has changed, there's several ways you can notify the IRS of your new contact information:

Include the new address when you file your 2020 taxes and be sure to notify your tax preparer if you use one. Fill out Form 8822, Change of Address (For Individual, Gift, Estate or Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Returns) and/or a Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party — Business and send them to the address shown on the forms. Send a letter with your full name, old and new addresses, Social Security number, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or Employer Identification Number, and signature to the IRS address on your most recent tax returns. If the government already sent your payment to an old address, you'll have to wait until it's returned to the IRS and see if you can update your information via Get My Payment.

If this is the case, then Get My Payment will show "Need More Information," typically two to three weeks after the payment is issued. Then, via the tool, you can enter a routing and account number for your bank account, prepaid debit card or alternative financial product that has a routing and account number associated with it.

3. You Recently Switched Banks Maybe you've finalized a divorce, or closed or changed your bank account to avoid fees or you moved to a new state where your old bank has no branches. Unfortunately, the IRS can't make a payment to an account it doesn't recognize.

If your most recent stimulus payment was sent to a closed or inactive bank account, by law the financial institution must return that payment to the government. The bank cannot hold and reissue the payment to you if the account is not active, even if you have other active accounts at the institution.

You cannot change the bank information that the IRS has on file. You will have to wait until the payment is returned to the IRS and then the government will mail a check or debit card to you—and this may take a number of weeks.

4. Your Payment Is Being Mailed The IRS says if it has direct deposit information on file for you, that's how you'll receive the third stimulus payment. However, even if the IRS has a current bank account on file, you still may not receive your stimulus payment as a direct deposit.

Due to the pressure of tax season and the complexity of 2020 tax returns as a result of pandemic-related tax breaks and other types of governmental aid, if the direct deposit returns an error of any kind, your stimulus payment will be sent as a check or in some cases, as a debit card.

If the IRS doesn't have direct deposit information on file for you, it will send the payments by check or a prepaid debit card (also known as an Economic Impact Payment card). The Get My Payment tool will say that your payment has been mailed, but it won't say whether you'll receive a check or debit card.

5. Mail Delivery Remains Slow The United States Postal Service (USPS) was beleaguered by delivery delays over the holiday season, exacerbated by high levels of online shopping and thousands of postal workers catching Covid-19. While delivery times have improved since December, according to the New York Times' analysis of a USPS report, only 84% of first-class mail was being delivered on time by the beginning of March, below the agency's target of about 96%.

The IRS announced it will send another batch of stimulus payments by mail the week starting March 22 (this includes stimulus checks and debit cards.) If Get My Payment says that your payment has been mailed, make sure to check your mail regularly, especially if it is not in a secured location. For added protection, consider signing up for the free USPS service, Informed Delivery. This allows you to get a preview of your mail arriving that day.

You can see what stimulus checks, EIP debit cards and envelopes look like on the IRS website.

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