There’s no question that the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury should be applauded for already successfully sending out millions of coronavirus relief checks to financially struggling Americans.
But amid the rush to get the stimulus money quickly out to those most affected by the ongoing pandemic, there have been some instances of payments being sent to wrong accounts or addresses.
The issues were apparent for previous stimulus payments as well.
“The first payment was sent back in April to the correct last four digits of my account. The second payment went out on January 4, but the last four digits I didn’t recognize,” Niecie Boyd recently told the station WHTM in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “It wasn’t in any of my accounts.”
According to the IRS, if you have signed on with a new bank or moved since your last filed tax return, your stimulus check could have been sent to your old account or address.
The agency has indicated that it has no way of knowing that the account or address has been changed, so you should update that information as soon as possible. Keep in mind that the bank that the payment was sent to must return the funds to the agency if the account holder is no longer a customer.
And if your address has recently changed, the best way to update it is to “file your 2020 tax return with your current address, if you haven’t already done so. Once we receive your current address, we will reissue your payment,” the IRS noted.
Unfortunately, the agency is not in a position to take phone calls to rectify such issues, so those individuals who are affected might have to wait a few more weeks for a paper check in the mail. Even for other concerns, “IRS live phone assistance is extremely limited at this time,” according to the agency’s website.
If you’re still sitting empty-handed after a week or two, know that you can always log on to the IRS “Get My Payment” tool at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. To use it, you will just need to enter your full Social Security or tax ID number, date of birth, street address, and ZIP code.
Be aware that you don’t have to waste your days by constantly checking on the site, as the IRS says that the tool “updates once per day, usually overnight.”
However, take note that some individuals will receive a message that says, “Payment Status Not Available.”
“If you get this message, either we have not yet processed your payment, or you are not eligible for a payment,” the IRS says. “We will continue to send the 2021 Economic Impact Payment to eligible individuals throughout 2021.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.