Is your stimulus check missing? You’re not alone. Although the IRS sent out stimulus checks much faster this time, millions of Americans still haven’t received theirs due to complicated delays. Whether your payment is in the mail, delayed, or even sent to an old address, you can still find and claim your stimulus money. Here’s what to do, step by step.
Step 1: Make Sure You Are Eligible
The first step to take if you haven’t received a second stimulus check is to make sure that you are eligible for funds, since people earning higher incomes may not be. You can check your stimulus check eligibility and how much you can expect to receive with our stimulus calculator on the Skip App, which you can download here.
Step 2: Confirm That Your Stimulus Check Has Been Sent
If you know you are eligible but you haven’t received your stimulus check yet, you can confirm that the IRS has sent it out with the Get My Payment tool, available here. The tool will tell you if the funds have been disbursed to you, and if so, on what date. According to our data here at Skip, only 9% of users have received a check so far, so you aren’t alone if your payment hasn’t arrived. It may still be on its way.
If you get a message from the Get My Payment tool saying “Payment Status Not Available”, but you are eligible for a payment, it may mean that your payment is delayed and you will need to claim it as a rebate on your taxes (more on that below).
Step 3: Check with Your Bank and Check Old Addresses
If the IRS Get My Payment tool says your stimulus check was sent to the “address on file”, but you moved since the last time you filed your taxes, your stimulus check may go to your old address. If you can, get in touch with whoever lives there now, or whoever owns the property, and ask if they can check the mail for you. Also, if you’ve moved within the last year, make sure that you have set up a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service, so that your mail can be forwarded. You can also set up a payment trace with the IRS if necessary (more below).
If you get a message from the Get My Payment tool that your payment was sent as a direct deposit but you haven’t received it, see if you can get in touch with your bank to make sure there wasn’t an issue with your deposit. If they can’t help you, you can arrange a payment trace from the IRS and get your payment as a rebate on your taxes. More on that below.
Step 4: Set Up a Payment Trace
If the Get My Payment Tool shows that your payment was disbursed, or if you get a letter from the IRS that it was sent (called the 1444-B notice), but you never received it, you can set up a payment trace with the IRS. The trace is an investigation as to what happened to your payment. After the trace, you will be cleared to claim the stimulus payment as a rebate on your taxes. If your payment was sent but you never received it, and you don’t ask for a payment trace, you may not be able to claim the payment as a tax rebate. Here’s what to do:
Here is who is eligible to set up a payment trace:
-Your payment was sent as a direct deposit 5 days ago or more and you haven’t received it
-Your payment was sent via mail a month ago or more and you haven’t received it.
The IRS will begin accepting payment trace requests for standard addresses on February 24, forwarding addresses on March 10, and foreign addresses on March 31.
Once the trace is done, you will be able to claim your payment as a rebate on your 2020 taxes. If you need to, you can file your taxes before the trace is done, and the IRS will issue you a credit or refund later.
Those whose payment was never sent won’t need to do a payment trace and can just claim the rebate on their taxes.
Step 5: Claim Your Stimulus Check As A Rebate on Your Tax Return
If you never receive your payment, you will be able to get it as a tax credit. You can figure out how much you were owed (you can use your IRS account or your 1444-B notice for this) and then request your payment as a credit on your income taxes (form 1040 or 1040-SR). The IRS has designed a worksheet included in 2020 income tax filing instructions called the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet, which is how you will get the rebate. If you request a payment trace from the IRS but it isn’t done by the time you want to file your taxes, the IRS has requested that you not fill out the payment amount on the worksheet, and that they will automatically issue you the credit if you are eligible.
Because this year taxes are more complex than ever, it might be worth working with an accountant to do your taxes if you can. For more stimulus info and trackers for funding programs like the EIDL and PPP, download the Skip App in the App Store or Google Play.
📌 Disclaimer: This is for illustrational purposes only and not to be construed as tax, accounting, or legal advice. Work with an accountant further if you have questions.