Here's What You Need to Remember: If eligible Americans receive that confirmation letter but haven’t seen the stimulus money, then it is heavily encouraged to request an IRS payment trace with Notice 1444. Expected recipients could also file for a payment trace if the Get My Payment tool indicates that the money was pumped out, but the person still hasn’t received the check within the designated time frame.
While the IRS continues to pump out more stimulus payments from President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief bill each week, roughly seven percent of eligible recipients still haven’t received the third round of direct relief.
So far, the agency has sent out 167 million payments, worth $391 billion, since March. But millions of Americans are still waiting for the $1,400 payment to hit their bank accounts or arrive in their mailboxes through a paper check or prepaid debit card.
Here are some tips for people who may still be waiting for the direct payments.
Use the IRS Get My Payment tracker tool
The Get My Payment tool is an online portal that allows stimulus check recipients to check the status of their relief payment. The portal will indicate whether the payment has been processed and how the recipient will receive the relief, which could be by direct deposit, paper check or prepaid debit card.
If the tool doesn’t offer users this information, the recipient may need to request a payment trace or file for a recovery rebate credit.
Wait for a paper check if there was a problem with the direct deposit
The IRS may have sent the payment by direct deposit into a bank account that no longer exists. If this is the case, the payment likely bounced and was returned to the agency.
But even if the payment was sent back to the IRS, the agency will send the relief back to the recipient, but this time in the form of a paper check to the current address that the agency has on file. If the check is then returned, the Get My Payment tracker tools would allow the recipient to enter new bank account information.
It is encouraged to call bank providers or tax preparers in the event of a closed bank account.
File a payment trace
Roughly two weeks after the IRS sends out the payments, recipients will get a confirmation letter from the agency.
If eligible Americans receive that confirmation letter but haven’t seen the stimulus money, then it is heavily encouraged to request an IRS payment trace with Notice 1444. Expected recipients could also file for a payment trace if the Get My Payment tool indicates that the money was pumped out, but the person still hasn’t received the check within the designated time frame.
And for those who still have missing money from the first two rounds of direct relief, the IRS noted that they should file for the recovery rebate credit by using the 2020 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR to claim the catch-up payment. This will only work if tax filers requested an extension to file, since the day to file taxes has already passed.
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill. This article first appeared earlier this year.