To provide relief, lawmakers passed a $2 trillion stimulus package in late March that, among other things, calls for a $1,200 lump sum payment for anyone whose income falls below a particular threshold.
At first, it was not clear as to when Americans would receive their money, and some experts panicked that it would not go out until May at the earliest. Actually, millions of people have been issued a stimulus payment already via direct deposit, as they started going out the week of April 13.
If someone is still missing their money, there are a few reasons as to why that could be.
If you filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes, were due a refund, and signed up to receive that money via direct deposit, you may already be sitting on your stimulus payment. But if you didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, or you filed one but weren’t due a refund and therefore didn’t include bank account details, then you’ll need to give the IRS that information so your stimulus payment can be processed quickly. Luckily, the IRS has launched a new tool that lets you input your bank details and effectively register for your stimulus payment but you shouldn’t delay, or you’ll have to wait on your money even longer.
The most recent bank account information the IRS has on file will be used to determine where your stimulus payment should land. Yet, if you’ve since closed that account, any stimulus money that gets sent there will be bounced back, eventually delaying your payment. Using the above tool to update your bank account details is a smart move one that could get you your money sooner.
If the IRS doesn’t have bank account details for you on file, and you have no intention of providing direct deposit information, then you’ll need to wait for a physical stimulus check to arrive in your mailbox. That could take a while. It’s anticipated that physical checks will start getting sent out in early May, but only a certain number will be issued per week. Meanwhile, those paper checks will be prioritized so that low-income households receive them first, and all told, it could take up to 20 weeks to mail all of them out. That means you could be stimulus-free for quite some time if you’re not a particularly low earner.
If your income has been cut by COVID-19, you probably need a stimulus more than ever. If that’s the case, take the time to update the IRS with your banking details so you’re not left scrambling to pay your bills while you wait for that money to arrive.
If you included all your dependent children on your 2018 tax returns, you don’t need to file for 2019 just to get the extra money for them. But if your child was just born or adopted and wasn’t declared as a dependent until 2019, you should file an updated return to let the IRS know. Likewise, if you couldn’t claim your child as a dependent for some other reason in 2018 but you can now, you should take action.