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What to Do if You Have Not Received the Economic Impact Payment

by Ramona Morel, Esq. and Alexa Tovar May 6, 2020

Many individuals who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return will be eligible to receive an Economic Impact Payment under the CARES Act. The payments are automatic for most taxpayers, which means that people who filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019 and most seniors and retirees do not need to take any further action to receive their payments. While a majority of taxpayers will benefit from having the IRS directly deposit the stimulus money into the bank accounts listed in their 2018 or 2019 tax returns, others will not. If you are one of the many who are eligible to receive the stimulus payment and you have not received it because the IRS does not have your bank account information or your current address, then the information below will help you navigate how to claim your stimulus payment.

The general information provided below is based on contents posted on the IRS’s website and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable that you speak to a tax attorney if you have legal questions regarding the stimulus payment.

1. Who is eligible to receive the Economic Impact Payment?

According to the IRS, U.S. citizens, permanent residents and qualifying resident aliens who: (1) are not claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, (2) have a Social Security number valid for employment, and (3) have adjusted gross income below an amount based on their filing status are eligible for a stimulus payment. You can see more on the eligibility criteria here.

2. What are the reasons why I would not get the stimulus payment directly deposited into my bank account?

According to the IRS, reasons why the stimulus payment will not be deposited into your bank account is if you: (1) did not choose to receive your 2018 or 2019 tax refund by direct deposit, (2) did not provide your bank information on the IRS’s website, or (3) did not use the IRS’s Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool.

3. I have not received my stimulus payment. How can I check the status of my stimulus payment?

You can check the status of your Economic Impact Payment online on the IRS’s official website. This portal will give you information about your payment status, your payment type and whether the IRS needs more information from you, including your bank account information. In order to obtain the status of your stimulus payment, you will need your 2019 tax return (if filed) and your 2018 return.

4. I am eligible to receive the stimulus payment and I filed a 2018 tax return or 2019 tax return the IRS does not have my bank account information.

If the IRS does not have your bank information on file, you can provide your bank account information through the IRS’s website. If the IRS does not receive your bank information before the payment is processed, you will receive a paper check to the address they have on file.

5. What if the bank account that the IRS has on file is closed or no longer active?

If the bank account is no longer active, your bank will automatically reject the direct deposit and the IRS will send a paper check to the address they have on file (the address that you have provided in your latest tax return.)

6. I no longer live at the address listed on the last return I filed. Can I change my address?

If you have not filed your 2019 tax return, you can provide your new address when you file and your information will be updated once the return is processed. If you already filed your 2019 taxes and you do not receive a direct deposit of your refund, the IRS will send your stimulus payment as a paper check.

7. I am self-employed and file my tax returns with a Form 1099. How can I receive my Economic Impact Payment?

If you filed your 2018 or 2019 tax returns and you included your bank information to receive a direct deposit of your refund, the IRS will use the account information that you provided in your most recent return to deposit your stimulus payment. If you did not include your bank information in your 2018 and 2019 tax returns, you can provide it on the IRS’s website.

8. I did not file taxes for 2018 or 2019 because I was not required to. How can I get my payment?

If you do not file taxes, you must complete the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info toll on the  IRS’s website to provide your information so you can receive your payment. This only applies to people who were not required to file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return. If you receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Benefits, or Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits, you do not have to provide any additional information to the IRS and you will receive $1,200.

If you have additional questions related to stimulus payments, visit the IRS’s website.

Ramona Morel is the Project Director for the Consumer Bankruptcy Project.

Alexa Tovar is the Project Coordinator for the Consumer Bankruptcy Project.

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