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Do you want your stimulus check faster? Get these things right now


You can try to speed up your payment by making sure everything is in order before the new incentive account is put to the vote.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you are waiting for incentive money that was missing from your first or second payment, or you expect one third stimulus check in the coming weeks, you’ll want to use these tips so you can get your payment faster.

On the one hand, the IRS bundles this upcoming tax season with disbursing missing stimulus check money as a Refund Discount. On the other hand is the timeline to one third stimulus check as far as $ 1,400 per person gets underway after Congress has held some decisive movements that it next COVID-19 incentive bill for quick approval, even despite opposition.

Knowing what to expect and tackling potential future hurdles can help you get both faster – our recommendations are below. We also have more information on one third check can be more “targeted” and how much money you could possibly get in a third stimulus check. (We can also help if you need to find out common issues that caused delays for millions of individuals and families, including a change of address or setting up a bank account.) This story is regularly updated.

File your taxes as soon as possible if you claim you are missing out on incentive money

If you are one of the millions of people who have not received the incentive money what you were eligible for this is possible in the first or second payment round claim that money on your Federal Tax Return 2020 as a Recovery Rebate Credit (estimate how much you might owe using CNETs stimulus check calculators for the second and first payments). The IRS said it will start processing returns on February 12th, and estimate that the initial refunds will be sent via direct deposit the first week of March. The deadline for filing your federal income tax return is April 15.

We advise file your taxes as early as possible, and set up a direct deposit with the IRS when you do (more on that below). Doing both of these things will not only help you get your tax refund faster with that missing incentive money, but it will also increase the chances of getting your third stimulus check especially earlier if it is passed during the tax season.

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Set up or correct direct deposit information when you file your tax return

Set up a direct deposit account that links directly to your bank account when you file your 2020 tax return will benefit you in two ways. You’ll get your tax return (with your Recovery Rebate Credit added for your missing incentive money) faster. The IRS has said the best and fastest way to get your tax refund is to have it deposited electronically into your bank account for free. You can set up a direct deposit in up to three different bank accounts if you want to split your tax refund between them.

If you set up a direct deposit and submit your declaration electronically to tax software such as TurboTax, you can also expect a faster declaration than when you print and send your declaration. The IRS said it expects nine out of ten taxpayers to receive their refunds within 21 days of filing electronically with direct deposit, if there are no issues with their tax returns.

Including information about your direct deposit on your tax return has another benefit: if and when one third stimulus check has been approved, direct deposit people who set up through the IRS usually are one of the first in line to get their money, unlike those who are sent a check or a EIP card. Here’s how much incentive money you could get with a check for $ 1,400.

Make sure the IRS knows your current address (also the USPS)

If you’ve moved after filing your 2019 tax return (or at any time during the corona pandemic), you need to do two things to ensure that your stimulus check and other important payment information can reach you: Tell the USPS and IRS where you went.

You must tell them your new address, even if your new location is temporary – you can always update your information when you move again. Even if your first or second payment has arrived via direct deposit (meaning a potential third party payment would likely do that too), you still want to make sure your address is up to date so you can receive the IRS letter to verify when your payment has been sent. If the letter arrives, but your money doesn’t, you don’t know you need to solve a problem, which you probably will requesting an IRS payment track. (Like you lose the letter, here’s how to get the information it contains.)

Here is how to change your address with the USPS and IRS.


Have everything ready before a new check is decided? Now is the time to act.

Angela Lang / CNET

Make sure your bank account information is up to date

If your bank status changes, or if you’ve closed the bank account the IRS has registered for you, you can wait for your incentive payment to be received – possibly return the payment before it ever reaches you.

The IRS said it has a number of ways to find your bank information. That includes getting your 2019 tax return (and probably your 2020 return when you file it), from the IRS ‘Get My Payment app or Non-Filers Tool if you used it last year or from another federal agency that uses your bank details to provide benefits, such as the Social Security Administration (if you receive SSDI or SSI benefits). But if that information is out of date, the bank will return the payment to the government, giving you a Refund Discount to get that money back with your tax refund.

If you don’t have a bank account, want one, and aren’t sure where to start, several major banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, are now offering more affordable check-free bank accounts as part of a government-backed effort to help people enter the banking system.

For the first and second checks, confirm that you are eligible to receive payment

This currently applies to the second stimulus check. Not everyone was eligible for a second stimulus check, like some of the eligibility rules changed after the first round. It’s likely that the rules will change again as one third check is approved.

This is who qualified for the second round, based on your total income on your taxes for 2018 or 2019:

  • If you are a single filer making less than $ 87,000
  • If you register as the head of a household and earn less than $ 124,500
  • If you file with your spouse and earn less than $ 174,000

However, there were many exceptions and rules depending on your situation, and the same will likely be true for a future third party check (you can find a more detailed list of stimulus check qualifications here).


Your second check could not be confiscated to pay back child support.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Will my stimulus check be topped off for debts I owe?

You can use most of your incentive money however you want. But there are certain exceptions, especially for anyone claiming money as a tax credit.

Below the CARES Act (that’s what the first stimulus check set up in March), if you put in more than $ 150 child benefit arrears (called arrears), your state may have reserved the right garnish all or part of your first stimulus check based on how much you owe. However, the second stimulus check, which was approved in December, could not be accepted for overdue child benefits. This change was well known in federal and state agencies. Read more about how child support here influences stimulation controls.

The first incentive check allowed private banks and creditors to seize a payment to cover an outstanding debt. However, some states, such as California, have issued orders prohibiting banks and creditors from decorating your stimulus check. With the second incentive check, your payment was protected against bank seizure, private creditors and debt collection agencies according to the text of the law. However, individual banks could choose to use that money to cover overdrafts, and this protection does not apply to the Refund Discount.

Again, we don’t know yet if this would change with one third stimulus check.

For more information, read what your stimulus check might look like if you receive SSI or SSDI, if you have dependents, if you are a young adult or if you are over 65 or retired.

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