This article was last updated on January 11
[Updated for Second Stimulus Checks] I am getting this question a lot when it comes to the recently approved $600/$1200 stimulus checks. But there are two different questions and outcomes here. One is not so great news, the other is better but means a delay in receiving your stimulus payment.
But before answering it is important to realize that the IRS will use the information in your 2019 tax return direct deposit information to deposit your second stimulus payment directly in your bank account. You cannot change this information at this stage. For non filers the IRS will use the information you should have provided in the IRS non-filers tool or to your government agency (for Social Security Recipients, SSI, SSDI or Veterans) as of November 21st, 2020. The stimulus payment will appear in your account summary as “IRS TREAS 310 XXTAXEIP2” or something similar.
The IRS does not recommend calling them or your bank until later in January 2021, once the final processing for stimulus payments are done (including check payments). Instead they recommend using their official Get My Payment (GMP) tool to get the latest status of your stimulus check, including the dependent stimulus check. For those who have not yet received direct deposits, they should continue to watch their bank accounts for a deposit in coming day as the IRS is resolving some glitches (see update below) and reprocessing payments. The IRS has also noted that with the reissuance of some direct deposit payments that the information taxpayers see in the GMP tool, including account numbers and potential deposit dates, may continue to display unfamiliar account numbers. No action is necessary for taxpayers as this work continues; they do not need to call the IRS, their tax provider or their financial institution.
IRS update Jan 10th – Fixing Issues With Incorrect or Closed Bank Accounts and Tax Software/Preparers
Last week the IRS and major tax software providers identified payment detail issues. Specifically some recipients may have had their payment directed to an incorrect or closed bank (per their 2019 tax return). The IRS and tax industry partners are taking immediate steps to redirect stimulus payments to the correct account for those affected. The IRS anticipates many additional taxpayers will receive payments following this effort. In addition to redirecting payments to the proper accounts, the IRS and tax industry partners worked over the weekend to help a smaller set of impacted taxpayers. You can see more details on this issue below with comments from TurboTax and H&R block.
Note this issue only impacts taxpayers whose tax preparation providers followed initial IRS guidance and are now waiting for the IRS to re-process payments related to these accounts. For people in this group, payments may be issued either as a paper check or as a direct deposit. Taxpayers do not need to take any action or call; this will be done automatically.
Closed Bank Account Stimulus Check Deposits
The IRS has confirmed that if it attempts to use direct deposit but an account is closed, the bank will reject the deposit, and the IRS will mail you a paper check with the address it has on file for you. However, paper checks may take weeks longer to arrive than direct deposits. Regardless of how the IRS sends your stimulus payment, it will also send a letter to the mailing address it has on file for you to let you know “how the payment was made and how to report any failure to receive the payment,” according to its website.
While there was some flexibility to update bank accounts for the first stimulus payment, the second stimulus payment has to be paid out by mid-January 2021 so existing bank account information is being used. If you don’t get your stimulus check by direct deposit, check or debit card by February the IRS is recommending you claim the stimulus payment via your 2020 tax return.
My Stimulus Payment went to the Wrong Account
The IRS has announced that that due to the speed at which they issued this second round of stimulus payments, they sent some payments to an account that may be closed or no longer active. So if you were caught in this situation, know that you are not alone. Fortunately per the stimulus legislation a financial institution must return the payment to the IRS. But the process to verify an incorrect account was used and for the IRS to re-issue/correct the payment (likely by check)s may cause extended delays in stimulus payments for some in this situation. Checking the latest payment status on the GMP tool is the best option or if no luck in getting the payment after a few months then file for it in your tax return before April 15, 2021.
Several thousand people also reported that their first stimulus payment (back in March/April 2020) went to the wrong account based on the IRS stimulus payment status tool. This seems to be primarily related to people who filed their taxes through tax preparation services like H&R Block and TurboTax and received refund and reached an agreement with these services to receive an advance refund (or refund transfer). Time magazine originally reported this issue, which was caused because the IRS didn’t have direct deposit information for tax filers who used a refund transfer and received their money on a debit card. Naturally tax preparation companies are pushing back and saying this is an IRS processing issue.
H&R Block spokesperson told TIME that the IRS “has bank account information for all H&R Block clients who received tax refunds electronically, and is determining when and how stimulus payments are distributed. [The IRS] has created confusion by not always using clients’ final destination bank account information for stimulus payments,” the spokesperson continued. “We share our clients’ frustration that many of them have not yet received these much-needed payments due to IRS decisions, and we are actively working with the IRS to get stimulus payments sent directly to client accounts.”
Likewise, a TurboTax spokesperson said that the “IRS has the appropriate banking information for all TurboTax filers, which can be used by them to distribute stimulus payments. This is true regardless of whether a customer chose to receive their refund on a debit card, selected refund transfer or other services. Any TurboTax customer who selects a refund transfer or a debit card and gets a stimulus payment sent from the IRS to those accounts will receive those stimulus payments without delay or fees into the account they received their tax refund,” the TurboTax spokesperson added.
If your payment was actually sent and deposited into the wrong account then you probably are going to have limited options. Your best bet is to contact the bank where your money was deposited (per IRS status) and ask to see if they can reverse the payment. But again this will mean the stimulus payment will be sent back to the IRS and you will need to wait for a paper check. Otherwise you the IRS is recommending you claim the stimulus payment via your 2020 tax return.