If you don't get your COVID money by Jan. 15, you'll have to claim it on your 2020 tax return
Undeliverable COVID-19 payments offer another scam route

Got COVID relief money questions? The IRS has updated its online answers

The good news, at least from the reports I'm getting from my family, friends, folks in the tax community and social media, is that people are getting their second COVID-19 economic impact payments (EIPs).

This latest round of payments officially is a tax credit known as the Recovery Rebate. It was part of the end-of-year federal funding bill, aka the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA).

The Internal Revenue Service started directly depositing the money, based on information it has in its system, on Dec. 29, two days after the legislation was signed into law.

Now the bad news.

People are getting impatient, especially those who got the first checks, created back in March by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, relatively quickly.

Right now, the IRS is on a tight schedule. The CAA, or now officially Public Law 116-260, requires the tax agency to get the money out by Jan. 15.

So that its personnel can focus on that job and get it done before it has to shift gears to the 2021 tax-filing season, the IRS is asking folks not to call its offices. Instead, it suggests anyone with questions about the payments check out its special online Get My Payment frequently asked questions (FAQ) page

Updating online Q&As: These FAQs were designed to deal with taxpayer queries after the first checks were authorized.

After the second economic impact payments were OK'ed, the IRS updated the Web page to reflect questions specific to the new $600 per person payment.

You can check out all the Q&As, old and new, at your leisure. But here are the ones that were updated on Dec. 30, 2020, to include information about the second economic impact payment, which has been dubbed EIP 2.

When will the Get My Payment tool give me the status of my EIP 2?
The IRS will relaunch the Get My Payment tool soon. When the tool is relaunched, taxpayers will be able to use the Get My Payment tool to check the status of both their EIP 1 and EIP 2. As more information becomes available, the IRS will provide updates.

Here's an update to this answer for you from me. I just clicked over to the Get My Payment page and it's operational. So go for it!

I am not required to file a tax return. Can I still use the Get My Payment tool to check my EIP 2 payment status?

An individual will not be able to use the Get My Payment tool to check the status of their EIP 2 payment if:

  • The taxpayer didn't file a tax return;
  • The taxpayer didn't use the IRS's Non-Filers tool by November 21, 2020; or
  • The IRS doesn't have enough information about the taxpayer to verify their identity, which is required to access the application.

Will Get My Payment show the status of my second Economic Impact Payment?
Yes, IRS plans to relaunch Get My Payment soon. (See my note about this in the first question/answer.) You will be able to check the status of your EIP 1 and EIP 2 payments. The status includes the date of the payment and the method (direct deposit or mailed payment date). Mailed payments will require more processing and mailing time. As more information becomes available, we will provide updates.

Note: Because payments are being issued based on information IRS already has on file, you will not be able to add new routing or account information and cannot request to receive your payment by EIP Card.

Will the Get My Payment tool show me the status of both EIP 1 and EIP 2?
Yes. The Get My Payment tool will provide the status of both EIP 1 and EIP 2, and each will be identified accordingly. Status information includes the date and method (direct deposit or mail) of payment.

However, if a taxpayer received their EIP 1 in multiple payments, the Get My Payment tool will show only the most recent payment information.

I received my EIP 1 on an EIP Card. Will my EIP 2 be sent to that card?
No. The EIP Cards (i.e., direct debit cards) that were mailed to some taxpayers will not be "reloaded." The IRS will issue EIP 2 on new EIP Cards. However, a taxpayer who received their EIP 1 on an EIP Card, will not necessarily receive their EIP 2 on an EIP Card. Individuals who are not receiving a direct deposit of their EIP 2 will receive their EIP as either a paper check or an EIP Card.

Covid-19 prepaid debit card front and back images

What information does the Get My Payment tool display about my EIP?
The Get My Payment tool will show the status (including the date and method of payment) of both the taxpayer's EIP 1 and your EIP 2. However, for individuals who received their EIP 1 in multiple payments, the tool will show the status of only the most recent EIP 1 payment.

For EIP 2 payments, the Get My Payment tool will display one of the following payment statuses:

  1. Payment Status – A payment has been processed, a payment date is available, and payment will be issued either by direct deposit or mail; or
  2. Payment Status Not Available – If a taxpayer receives this message, either the taxpayer isn't eligible to receive an EIP 2 or the IRS was unable to issue an EIP 2 to the taxpayer.

Eligible individuals who didn't receive an EIP will be able to claim any recovery rebate credit they are entitled to on their 2020 tax return.

Why can't I get my payment status?
To use the Get My Payment tool, an individual must first verify their identity by answering security questions. If the individual has verified their identity and received a "Payment Status Not Available" message, the IRS can't determine the individual's eligibility for an EIP. Two common reasons for this situation are

  1. The taxpayer didn't file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return, or
  2. A recently filed return has not been fully processed.

Where did the IRS get my bank information, and what if I need to change it?
The Get My Payment tool reflects the account information provided on the taxpayer's 2019 tax return, Non-Filer Registration, entered on Get My Payment before December 22, 2020, or provided by a Federal Agency who issued benefits to the taxpayer (Social Security Administration, Veteran Affairs, or Railroad Retirement Board). Account information can't be changed. Eligible individuals who don't receive an EIP 2 may claim any recovery rebate credit they are entitled to on their 2020 tax return.

My bank account information has changed or was incorrect. Can I update it using the tool?
No. Account information can't be changed. Eligible individuals who don't get an EIP 2 may claim any recovery rebate credit they are entitled to on their 2020 tax return.

What if I don't recognize the account information shown?
A taxpayer who receives Social Security (SSA), Railroad Retirement (RRB), Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI) or Veterans Administration (VA) benefits via a Direct Express card will also receive their EIPs on that card. The account information shown in the Get My Payment tool will be a number associated with the Direct Express card.

Prior updated Q&As: But wait! There's more!

Even before the second coronavirus payments were created, the IRS updated some answers to prior and still relevant rebate questions.

Here are those Dec. 8, 2020, Q&As.

I filed jointly with my spouse. Can either spouse use the Get My Payment tool?
Yes. For joint filers, either spouse can use the Get My Payment tool by providing their own information to verify their identity. The same payment status will be shown for both spouses.

My EIP was mailed weeks ago but the Post Office was unable to deliver it. What should I do?
If the Get My Payment tool shows that the taxpayer's EIP was mailed, but the taxpayer hasn't received the EIP within 14 days of the mailing date, the taxpayer should check the Get My Payment tool periodically. If the IRS receives the EIP back because the Post Office was unable to deliver it, the IRS will update the taxpayer's EIP status to "Need More Information." The IRS will hold the taxpayer's EIP until it receives the taxpayer's updated address. Taxpayers should consult the IRS' website on address changes for information about how to change their address.

US Postal Service carrier with COVID19 face mask delivers mail

My address has changed or is incorrect. What can I do to change or correct it to receive my EIP?
The Get My Payment tool won't allow taxpayers to submit a change of address. Taxpayers that need to change their address should consult the IRS's website on a look at the IRS form to change your address .

What does it mean when the Get My Payment tool says, "Need More Information?"
When the Get My Payment tool says it needs more information, it means that the taxpayer is eligible for an EIP, but the IRS doesn't know where to send it. An eligible individual who doesn't receive an EIP 2 may be able to claim the recovery rebate credit when they file their 2020 tax return.

Why am I getting "Payment Status Not Available"?
The Get My Payment tool will return "Payment Status Not Available" for several reasons, including:

  1. The taxpayer filed a 2019 tax return, but the IRS hasn't finished processing it;
  2. The taxpayer used the "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here" application, but the IRS hasn't processed that information yet; or
  3. The taxpayer isn't eligible for an EIP.

The IRS updates the Get My Payment tool once per day, overnight. Eligible individuals who provided their address or direct deposit information either through a recent tax return or the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here, application should continue to check Get My Payment once per day for updates.

I hope this answers your EIP 2 questions and any lingering from the first round of payments, too.

I hope even more that you've already got your second COVID stimulus money or it arrives soon so you don't have to look for any more answers to your questions!

You also might find these items of interest:

 

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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