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Missing stimulus check: You may need to activate a payment tracking with the IRS



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If your second stimulus check never arrived, it may be time to request payment tracking from the IRS.

Sarah Tew / CNET

There is a handful of reasons your second stimulus control from up to $ 600 per person may not have arrived, and a few different ways you can handle the situation. With the The IRS deadline has passed to automatically send checksWaiting patiently is not a solution we would recommend. (But absolutely you are eligible for an incentive payment, is.)

One option that many people in your situation should and will do is make a claim on your 2020 tax return next month as a Chargeback Discount Credit (Here’s How). But in some specific situations you may also need it contact the IRS to request something called a payment tracking to locate those funds. (Use our stimulus calculator to estimate the amount of money you should have received in your check.)

Below we’ll explain what an IRS Payment Tracking is and the two scenarios you might need to use it for – instead of applying for the chargeback credit. We also explain how to get started. Stay tuned for our stimulus check guides for older adults, Adolescents, SSI and SSDI receivers, non-US nationals and people living abroad and people who pay or receive child benefits. This is what we know about one so far third stimulus check, including all additional ways it can make you a bigger payment, when it can be approved and how much money your household could get.

Scenario 1: The IRS online app says your money has been sent, but you’re still waiting for it

If your second stimulus control is missing, 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. But generally, the IRS updates the tool once a day and requires you to enter your social security number or individual taxpayer identification number, date of birth, street address, and zip code.

The portal shows you 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.


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You need to request payment tracking if the Get May Payment portal indicates that your payment has been made, but you have not received 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

Scenario 2: The IRS verified your payment in a letter, but you never received the money

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 as you will need the information to submit your claim.

How to Start a Payment Tracking with the IRS

Call the IRS to request payment tracking 800-919-9835 or mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer’s Statement Regarding Reimbursement. Find out on the IRS website where you can mail or fax that form for your state.

To complete From 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 filing a married declaration, both spouses must sign the form.

You should not mail form 3911 if you have already requested a tracking by telephone. 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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Now locate your first or second stimulus check.

Sarah Tew / CNET

How does the IRS handle your 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 give you 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 could you expect your missing incentive money?

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