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CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Second stimulus check: how long will they be paid out?

The bill authorizing the second round of pandemic stimulus direct payments puts a deadline on the IRS and US Treasury to get the funds out to Americans.

Second stimulus check: how long will they be paid out?
ALASTAIR PIKE AFP

The second stimulus checks for up to $600 per individual are already going out to eligible Americans. However the IRS and US Treasury have until 15 January to get those payments out to individuals. Since the system is automated there may be a glitch or two to be aware of if you don’t receive yours soon after that deadline.

The second round of payments will be sent in one of three ways, a direct deposit, a paper check or a EIP card. Depending on how you received the first payment will determine how you should receive the second. If you expect your payment via direct deposit, simply check your bank account. If you expect a paper check or EIP card, you will want to keep an eye on your mail box for a letter with the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal.

Second stimulus payments will be sent automatically

Taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return and are eligible to receive the $600 stimulus check will be sent one automatically. Likewise non-filers who registered for the first round of stimulus payments before 21 November through the IRS online Non-Filers tool will receive the second payment automatically. The IRS had problems getting payments in the first round to some people in the second group because they didn’t have up-to-date records on these individuals.

When should you see your payment?

Individuals who got the first payment via direct deposit may already have the funds in their bank account. However if an individual has since changed bank accounts then they will have to wait to file for a Recovery Rebate Credit in their 2020 tax return. The IRS says that due to the “compressed timeline” of getting payments out and preparing the 2021 tax filing season they will not be able to reissue payments.

For people who used one of the major tax prep software companies to file their taxes, there are reports of payments going to the wrong account number. This is because the services use a temporary account to receive an individual’s tax refund before sending the payment on to the customer. These payments maybe delayed, but individuals should be prepared to file their 2020 taxes early and electronically to get the funds sooner.

How can you find out the status of the payment?

You can check the status of your payment at the IRS Get My Payment tool. However the IRS warns that due to high demand visitors may receive a “please wait” or error message. If so, people are encouraged to try back later, but the number of attempts to access the site per day is limited. When people reach the maximum number of accesses, Get My Payment will inform them they will need to check back the following day.

The IRS advises not to call your financial institution, tax software provider or the IRS as agency phone assistors do not have additional information beyond what’s available on IRS.gov.

What if my payment is coming by mail?

The IRS says that payments sent by mail, either paper checks or EIP cards, should be received in 3 to 4 weeks. You can track your payment through the IRS Get My Payment tool. As mentioned, the site is experiencing heavy traffic. If your payment has been sent out then you can use the US Postal Service’s informed delivery tool to track your payment in the mail.