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IRS says COVID payment tracking tool is working fine

Coronavirus 'Get My Payment' tracking troubles

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Happy Tax Day 2020! But it really isn't, thanks to the coronavirus delay of deadlines to July 15.

So it's Happy COVID-19 Payment Day! But apparently, it really isn't that either.

While the Internal Revenue Service says that it already has delivered some of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act created payments via direct deposit — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier this week that would be the case today for 80 million of us — many of us are still waiting.

And, after checking out bank accounts and finding nothing new from Uncle Sam, we eagerly headed over to the IRS' new online coronavirus economic payment tracking tool optimistically dubbed Get My Payment that went online this morning.

Unfortunately, as happens so often with mass live beta testing, things don't go as hoped or planned. Who else is flashing back to the Affordable Care Act's initial enrollment website difficulties?

Tracking down, or not, my COVID-19 payment: That said, here's a look at what happened to me today when I went to Get My Payment to check on the status of the hubby's and my COVID-19 money.

I'll let you know what the IRS says should happen, shown in bold-face green-for-go type. That's then followed by my experience of how it actually went down, or rather didn't — signaled by the bold-face red-for-stop type — for me and, judging from my emails and social media messages, a lot of other folks trying out Get My Payment.

IRS says Get My Payment will show the projected date when a COVID-19 deposit has been scheduled, similar to the agency's Where’s My Refund? tool that many taxpayers have used for years to track down their annual tax refunds.

Here's what you'll see when you go there:

Get My Payment screenshot

A quick alert and piece of advice, especially on this first day: be patient. When I went there, I got the "Please Wait" screen shown below.

Get My Payment please wait screenshot

Then I got a blank screen.

Get My Payment blank screen screenshot

After waiting a few minutes, I started over and was able to get to the Get My Payment tracking tool. Yay. Sort of. Read on.

Info needed to get more info: Once you enter Get My Payment, the IRS says it will show you the payment amount you'll get, its scheduled delivery date by direct deposit or paper check and, for some, if a payment hasn’t been scheduled.

But to get this info, you'll first need to provide some data so the IRS can find you and your return.

Specifically, you'll be asked to enter your Social Security number (if you filed a joint return, use the Social Security number of the spouse whose name and tax ID number is shown first on the 1040), your date of birth (see jointly filing spouse notation earlier) and the mailing address entered on the last tax return you filed. This last return should be either the one for the 2019 tax year you submitted earlier this year or your 2018 return filed last year.

OK. Done, done and done.

But wait, there's more. You'll also be asked to enter some numerals from your latest filed return. These include the adjusted gross income (AGI) show on that filing and the amount of tax you paid or were refunded.

You'll also be instructed to enter the bank account type (checking or savings) to which you had that refund directly deposited, as well as that account's bank routing and account numbers.

OK again. Done, done, done and done.

Not as advertised: But when I tried it, as noted by my "done" remarks, the process went awry.

I entered all my 2019 data and got a message that it didn't match what the IRS has on file. OK, so maybe it hasn't processed our latest return. So I did what the page told me. I used our 2018 return instead.

That's when the IRS told me, via the screen shown below, that while the hubby and I are eligible for the COVID-19 economic relief payment, it didn't have enough information to directly deposit our money.

Get My Payment need more info screenshot

Mmmm. That's interesting, because in 2018 I overpaid our estimated taxes and we got a refund of that money. It was directly deposited to our checking account.

So the IRS had it then, but now doesn't, even though Mnuchin and IRS statements said they could use either year's data to directly send us the money.

OK. Whatevs. I reentered our bank information, which the IRS apparently does not have on file even though it processed our 2018 return and directly deposited the refund amount from that filing.

But after I did that and hit enter, instead of successfully finding out my COVID-19 economic relief payment amount and expected direct delivery, I was, as the page below shows, essentially was put on online hold.

Get My Payment try again later screenshot

Really? OK. I'll try again tomorrow since I'm locked out for 24 hours.

Maybe in a day, the Get My Payment bugs will be worked out or the IRS will find my latest tax return and bank info and the COVID-19 economic relief payment tracking process will go more smoothly.

UPDATE, April 17, 2020: I tried again on Thursday, April 16, to find out about my COVID-19 relief payment, but apparently, I went back to the tool too soon. It seems the IRS Get My Payment tracker is like airlines, counting the precise minutes before you can recheck your coronavirus payment's status or get a boarding pass via app. (And thanks @DebFoxFinancial and @RobergTax for that airline reminder/analogy!) 

The good news is that I finally got in this afternoon, Friday, April 17. The bad news is that instead of getting good news to report here, I got the same runaround.

Guess I'll just wait for my Donald J. Trump annotated paper check  to arrive sometime next month or, if that doesn't happen since the IRS has no record of me, file for the money next year on my 2020 tax return.

Others have issues, too: I wish I could say I was the only person having Get My Payment issues today, but alas, I am not.

And the issues are likely to persist since there are many filing variables, like the one Ron notes below, that could affect coronavirus payment recipients.

Many variables: I suspect Ron's complaint also could be part of the problem that I encountered.

The Get My Payment screen seeking our filing information for 2019 wanted to know if we got a refund. Technically, yes we did (again, a slight estimated tax over payment; you'd think I'd be better at this by now). But we had that amount credited toward this year's taxes.

Do I answer yes, since our Form 1040 shows we overpaid? Or no, since it wasn't directly deposited into our checking account this year? I said "yes." I'm thinking, since there was no bank account numbers on that filing, I should have said "no."

C'mon, IRS. Do better or, to borrow from the wife of the guy who's making sure his name shows up somewhere on paper checks, Be Best.

I know it's a crazy time, but a lot of people are counting on you and that money.

UPDATE: Later today, the IRS issued a statement saying the Get My Payment tracking tool was operating just fine.

Or chill: In the meantime, I suppose the best we can hope for is that after this initial rush to see where the pandemic payments are, things will slow down and the Get My Payment tracking process will operate more smoothly.

And we can all take a lesson from Phyllis Kubey, an Enrolled Agent and #TaxTwitter pal, who being more philosophical, as well as more good-humored, about the whole thing.

Tell us about your payment and/or experience: Did your COVID-19 economic relief payment show up in your bank account today? Excellent! I am very jealous.

Or did you, too, try the Get My Payment tracking tool? If so, did you have more success than I did? If yes, good for you!

Or did you also encounter problems finding out about your coronavirus money? I'm feeling your pain.

Whatever your COVID-19 economic relief payment situation, please let me and the ol' blog's readers know in the comments section below.

 

Coronavirus Caveat & More Information
In 2020, we're all dealing with extraordinary circumstances,
both in our daily lives and when it comes to our taxes.
The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce its transmission
and protect ourselves and our families means that,
for the most part, we're focusing on just getting through these trying days.

But life as we knew it before the coronavirus will return,
along with our mundane tax matters.
Here's hoping that happens soon!
In the meantime, you can find more on the virus and its effects on our taxes
by clicking Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Taxes.

 

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Comments

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Isaiah Smith

I had a similar problem but once i entered the wheres my refund information it said I was elegible and when they have my payment date they will update my page but i guess i checked to many times today because my last tine checking it said try again later and it said reason why is because i entered wrong information or i logged on to many times and it has to be because I logged on to many times because it already said the direct deposit and tax info i put in was accepted and i wad elegible so i guess all i can do is wait 24 hour. This shit sucks!!!!

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