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Home / Tips and Tricks / Find your missing incentive money with an IRS payment track. Here’s how to get one

Find your missing incentive money with an IRS payment track. Here’s how to get one



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We’ll tell you the right time to request payment tracking from the IRS for your no-show incentive check.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The IRS deadline of January 15 to submit a second stimulus control of maximum $ 600 per person has come and gone. While more than 147 million payments were made, that’s millions of other people experience delays or other issues who prevented their check from arriving. To find out where your money is and what it could mean, you must first enter the IRS ‘Payment Status Tool. Depending on what it tells you, you may have to take one more step to track down your missing money.

Most people will have to claim any missing incentive money on their 2020 tax return, have a Refund Discount (here’s how you can make that claim, even if you don’t usually file taxes). But in certain cases, you have to contact the IRS and request something called a payment tracking to find your missing funds. (You can use our stimulus calculator to estimate the amount of money you should have received in your check.)

Here’s everything you need to know about what an IRS Payment Track is, the two scenarios you might need to apply for one in lieu of a Recovery Rebate Credit, and how to get started with it. We also have stimulus check guides older adults, Adolescents, SSI and SSDI receivers, non-US nationals and people living abroad and people who pay or receive child benefits. Plus, here’s what we know about one so far third stimulus check, including the latest drama with the size of the check, when it could be approved and how much money your household could get. This story was recently updated.

Situation 1: According to the IRS online app, the agency sent you money, but you never received a check

If your second stimulus control is missing, you must first go to the free IRS online payment tracking tool called Get My Payment to find out the status. We have full instructions on this how to use the Get My Payment tool and the different messages you can see here. You must enter your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number, date of birth, street address and zip code.

The portal shows your payment status, whether your check is scheduled to be sent, and the payment method (direct deposit or by mail) and date. You may also see another message or an error. (By the way, this is why you might want that register for direct deposit with the IRS if you haven’t already.)

You need to request payment tracking if the Get May Payment portal indicates that your payment was made, but you did not receive it within these timeframes:

  • 5 days since the deposit date in Get My Payment and your bank says they haven’t received it
  • 4 weeks since it was sent to a standard address by check
  • 6 weeks since it was shipped and you have registered a forwarding address with the local post office
  • 9 weeks since it was shipped and you have a foreign address


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Situation 2: The IRS sent a letter confirming that your payment was sent, but the money never arrived

About 15 days after the IRS sends your second stimulus check (by either direct deposit, paper check or EIP card), you should get a letter from the agency confirm your payment and provide you with a way to contact us to report any issues. If you have received this letter – also called Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment – but have never received your payment, you must request a Payment Trace. Make sure to keep the letter – you will need the information to submit your claim. (Here’s what to do if you have lost the IRS letter on your stimulus check.)

How to Submit a Payment Tracking to the IRS

Call the IRS to request payment tracking 800-919-9835 or mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refunds. (Note that if you call the number, you must listen to the recorded content before you can connect to an agent.) Find out on the IRS website where you can mail or fax that form for your state.

To fill out Form 3911, the IRS provides the following instructions:

  1. Write ‘EIP’ at the top of the form (EIP stands for Economic Impact Payment)
  2. Fill out the form to answer any refund questions related to your payment
  3. When completing item 7 under section 1:
  • Check the box for “Individual” if the Kind of return.
  • Enter “2020” as tax Period.
  • Don’t write anything for the Date Archived.
  • Sign the form. If you are married and are applying together, both spouses must sign the form.

You should not email Form 3911 if you have already requested a tracking by phone. And you should not request payment tracking to determine if you were qualify for a check, or to confirm the amount you should have received, the IRS said.

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Better catch that missing money before it slips away.

Sarah Tew / CNET

How does the IRS handle my Payment Trace claim?

The IRS will do the following to process your claim, according to its website:

  • If you haven’t cashed the check, the IRS will issue a replacement. If you discover the original check between your belongings, you are expected to return it as soon as possible.
  • Once you have collected the refund check, you can expect a claim package from the Office of the Tax Authorities, containing a copy of the cashed check. Then follow the instructions provided. The Office will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before deciding whether to issue a replacement check. This is presumably for protection stimulus check fraud.

When can I expect my missing incentive payment?

According to its website, you should get a response from the IRS about six weeks after the agency receives your request for payment tracking. However, this can be postponed due to the limited staffing.

For more information on stimulus controls, view all stimulus checks facts and details to know, and three good reasons to file a direct deposit with the IRS.


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