Key point: The IRS has a tool to help folks check on their check status. Here is how to use it and what form you will need to fill out.
Considering that many millions of payments were rapidly sent out, only a small percentage of that could potentially mean that tens of thousands of taxpayers either didn’t receive the stimulus check at all or it arrived in such a poor condition that it wasn’t able to be cashed.
For those who have been forced to deal with this unfortunate situation, keep in mind that they can still try to claim the money that they’re entitled to from the U.S. government. The Internal Revenue Service, fortunately, has a set of procedures that can help you in that quest.
For this particular tax season, which has been extended to May 17, a Recovery Rebate Credit has been added to all returns, so that people mired in this particular situation can eventually get their hands on the overdue payments.
According to the IRS website, it states that “if you didn’t get any payments or got less than the full amounts, you may qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit even if you don’t normally file.”
The agency advises that individuals keep the form they receive regarding their stimulus payment and refer to it when filing their tax returns.
Also, some people reportedly have gotten a confirmation letter (Notice 1444 or Notice 1444-B) from the IRS stating that their payment was issued even though they have yet to receive it. In this situation, the affected individuals have the option to request an IRS payment trace.
Know that the same holds true if the IRS “Get My Payment” tool at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment shows that the stimulus funds have been transferred but nothing has changed in the recipient’s bank account.
Be aware, though, 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.”
In order to request a payment trace, first call the IRS at 800-919-9835 or mail or fax a completed Form 3911, “Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund.” If the trace request was done via phone, then know that one does not have to fill out Form 3911.
According to the agency, here’s the best way to complete Form 3911. First, make sure to write “EIP3” on the top of the form, then fill out the form answering all of the refund question as they relate to the missing stimulus payment. When one reaches item seven under section one, be sure to check the box for “Individual” as the type of return. For “Date Filed,” leave that blank and then sign the form.
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. This first appeared earlier and is being reposted due to reader interest.