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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

IRS owes 9 million people stimulus checks, but they have to register first. What you need to know

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The IRS this month will contact 9 million Americans who may still be owed stimulus money.

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Angela Lang

While lawmakers have still not been able to reach a compromise over a new coronavirus relief package and second stimulus check, there are still roughly 9 million people who are still eligible to receive the first check who haven’t yet. Many of these people will get the maximum amount of $1,200. And the IRS is eager to pay out. 

Since April, the IRS is estimated to have made nearly 200 million payments through direct deposits, mailed checks and prepaid debit cards, as part of legislation to help offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on livelihoods and people’s ability to work. But at least one group of people hasn’t gotten their money yet (well, maybe two)

Who are these people? Predominantly those who didn’t file a federal income tax return in either 2018 or 2019 who still meet the requirements for a stimulus check. But there is a catch: These nonfilers need to register to claim their money.

This month, the IRS will mail letters to this group with all the details. In the meantime, we’ll tell you what we know right now about finding out if you’re eligible for the original stimulus check and then claiming it if you receive a letter from the IRS. And here’s what you need to know about when a second stimulus check might come to eligible Americans and how much money you could get.

Who will the IRS contact about the owed payments?

The IRS said it’s sending letters to 9 million Americans who didn’t file federal income tax returns in either 2018 or 2019 and who may be eligible for a payment. This group includes both those who are not required to file a return and those who are required but haven’t yet, the agency said.

How will the IRS contact those who qualify for a stimulus check?

The IRS will start sending the letters —  which it calls IRS Notice 1444-A — around Sept. 24 to those who may be eligible. The agency said the letter will be mailed from an IRS address. You can see a copy of the letter here (PDF) in English and Spanish.

What steps do you need to take to claim your payment?

If you weren’t required to file a federal tax return, the letter directs you to use the IRS’ Non-Filers tool, where you can provide some information to claim your payment.

If you were required to file your federal taxes but didn’t, the letter directs you to electronically file your 2019 tax return immediately and then use the IRS’ Get My Payment to check the status of your payment.

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The IRS is sending later this month letters to 9 million people who may still be due a stimulus payment.


Sarah Tew

When is the deadline to request your payment?

Those using the Non-Filers tool need to request their payment by Oct. 15. Afterward, the only way to claim a payment will be to file a federal income tax return.

For more on economic impact payments have tips on how best to use your stimulus check, how to avoid being scammed and how young you can be and still get your own stimulus check money. Again, you can use our stimulus check calculator to get an estimate for how much you might receive.

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