If you haven’t gotten your coronavirus stimulus check yet, you’re probably getting impatient. As of April 17, about 80 million people have gotten their payments — so it’s stressful to be left wondering why yours hasn’t arrived.
Assuming you’ve filed a tax return or used the non-filer tool if you need to, here are some reasons you could still be waiting.
Where Is My Coronavirus Check? 8 Reasons You’re Still Waiting
If you’re wondering, “Where’s my coronavirus check?” you can track your money using the Get My Payment app on IRS.gov — but the glitches and “payment status not available” messages abound.
Here are eight possible reasons you haven’t gotten your cash.
1. The IRS Doesn’t Have Your Bank Account Info
You’ll get your stimulus money faster if the IRS can send it via direct deposit. The first direct deposit payments started arriving April 13-14. However, people receiving payments by mail could wait months for their checks.
We get it: The IRS hasn’t made it easy to get that information to them if you’ve already filed your 2019 tax return. It didn’t release the Get My Payment feature, which lets you input your bank account and routing numbers, until April 15, after it had already started processing payments.
You can use the tool to provide banking information to the IRS if it doesn’t have it on file for you — and hopefully avoid the wait for a paper check.
But you can’t use it to update banking info if you’ve closed the account the IRS has in its records. And there’s no way to do it if you’ve already submitted your 2019 taxes.
If your payment status is “need more information,” you’re eligible for a payment, but the IRS doesn’t have your banking info. You can use Get My Payment in this case to provide it.
2. Your Payment Was Sent to an Account You Closed
On that note, you may see that your payment has been made or scheduled for deposit into an account you’ve closed. If that’s the case, we hate to tell you this, but: You’re in for a wait.
Your payment will be returned to the IRS. Then, you’ll get in line for a paper check.
However, within 15 days, you should receive a letter via snail mail that tells you what to do if you didn’t receive your payment. We don’t know if it will provide you an option for updating your direct deposit or if you’ll have to wait to get your check in the mail.
3. You Didn’t Get a Tax Refund
If you provided your bank account on your 2018 or 2019 return, but you owed taxes for that year, the IRS won’t use that information to automatically send your payment. The good news is that you should be able to use Get My Payment to re-enter your account info to get your money via direct deposit.
The same applies if you neither got a refund nor owed money on your most recent tax returns.
4. You Got Your Refund on a Prepaid Debit Card
People who got a refund advance using a tax preparation service like TurboTax or H&R Block typically are finding that they still haven’t gotten their coronavirus check.
When you get a refund advance, the tax prep company gives you a loan against your refund in the form of a prepaid debit card. Then your refund is sent directly to a temporary bank account set up by the preparer. As a result, the IRS may not have your direct deposit information on file.
It’s unclear how checks will be paid to those who got a refund advance, but an IRS spokesperson told The Washington Post that people in this circumstance should submit their direct deposit info via Get My Payment.
5. Your Tax Return Hasn’t Been Accepted Yet
If you filed your 2019 return recently and didn’t file in 2018, the IRS may still be processing your return.
This is especially likely if you filed a paper tax return. IRS employees have been working remotely since March, so returns sent by mail aren’t being processed.
If your paper return hasn’t been processed and you didn’t submit a 2018 return, you’ll have to wait until the IRS is back in the office to get your payment. You can’t submit a second 2019 return electronically, and filing a 2018 return won’t help because you have to mail past-due returns.
6. You Used the Non-Filer Tool
The IRS released the non-filer tool for people who aren’t required to file taxes just a few days before the first direct deposit stimulus payments were made. As a result, it’s unlikely that your payment has been processed yet.
If you’re a non-filer who’s tracking your check via Get My Payment, you’ll probably have to wait until your payment has been processed to get a status update.
7. The IRS Thinks You Make More Than You Do
If you earned too much to qualify for a payment in 2018 but you qualify based on your 2019 income, the IRS won’t know that you’re eligible if you haven’t filed your 2019 return.
One scenario when this might apply: If you retired at some point in 2018 or 2019, your 2019 income might be significantly lower than your 2018 income. In that case, you should file a 2019 tax return ASAP so the IRS can see that you qualify and send your payment.
People will also be able qualify based on their 2020 income, though they’ll have to wait until they submit their 2020 tax returns. That means if your income takes a hit in 2020, you’ll get your coronavirus when you file your taxes in 2021.
8. You’re on Social Security, SSI or Other Benefits
If you get Social Security, Railroad Retirement, SSI or VA benefits, the IRS is “working with your agency to issue your payment.”
No action is needed to get your payment, but as of April 17, you’re probably still waiting.
What Can I Do to Get My Coronavirus Check Faster?
For most people, the answer is nothing. You can continue to monitor your payment using the Get My Payment feature. But information is only updated once each day. Frequent attempts to log in could get you blocked for 24 hours.
In the meantime, if you have questions about coronavirus stimulus checks or you’d like to share your experience with using Get My Payment, email [email protected].
Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at Codetic. She writes the Dear Penny personal finance advice column.