CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECK

Third stimulus check: Will there be delays in payments?

The third round of $1,400 direct payments is already on its way but there are fears that a busy IRS tax season could leave some waiting much longer.

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Third stimulus check: Will there be delays in payments?
OLIVIER DOULIERY AFP

The IRS have confirmed that the first 90 million stimulus check payments have been distributed to eligible Americans. This first wave of payments saw an estimated $242.2 billion sent out as President Joe Biden looks to get the support out to those in need as quickly as possible.

This puts him close to meeting his target of 100 million payments made in ten days and looks on course to be the swiftest stimulus check rollout to date.

However while millions will have already received the direct support, that does not mean that the process will be without any delays.

Tax season adds to IRS’ workload

When the first round of stimulus checks was signed into law in March 2020, the IRS decided to extend the tax return deadline to allow themselves to prioritise sending out the payments. However this time around they are insisting that they will stick to the 15 April deadline, leaving some concerned that the stimulus check rollout will suffer.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Rep. Jamie Raskin and Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., who also serves as Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman, sent a letter to the IRS and Treasury Department urging them to change the deadline to 15 July.

If the IRS face any complications in the administration of the tax return process, which is possible after a tax year that introduced new programmes, terminology and income sources, the stimulus check rollout could be delayed.

Payments for newly-claimed dependents could be delayed

In some cases, stimulus check recipients may find that they receive part of their full allocation fairly swiftly but are left waiting for the remainder. 

This is particularly likely for those who are claiming stimulus checks on behalf of claimants for the first time. Payments claimed on behalf of children born since the 2020 tax filing may take longer to arrive because the IRS will have to wait for the new tax filing to be processed for the new child to be added to your details.

Those who used the non-filers tool to get one of the previous stimulus checks could face a similar delay if they are now claiming for adult dependents. In the past adult dependents were not eligible for a stimulus check so would not have been included in the application, and will need to be added on now.

Distribution method can cause delays for those waiting for a physical payment

As was the case with the previous rounds of stimulus checks, the IRS will use a number of different payment methods to get the money out to those in need. The vast majority will get theirs in the form of a direct deposit, which is both the fastest and the most reliable method of payment.

However stimulus check recipients who either have no access to formal banking, or whose banking details are not on file with the IRS, will have to utilise a slower method.

The IRS has confirmed that they have also sent out the first wave of physical stimulus checks, which will go to those whose bank details are unknown. This could take up to a week to arrive. Stimulus check recipients who receive the Economic Impact Payment debit cards can expect to start seeing them in their mailboxes towards the end of March.