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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A Missing Stimulus Check? Double Check Your Options Or You Might Miss $1,400

The IRS is still sending out stimulus checks regularly and by last count around 169 million have been dispatched, worth around $395 billion. Around 2.3 million payments have been issued in the latest batch. But many Americans are yet to get any Economic Impact Payment under the American Rescue Plan. And the numbers don’t mean much to them as they await their first third stimulus payment.

A significant number of checks include follow-up payments or ‘plus-up checks. They have been sent to individuals and families who have received less than the amount that they were entitled to in the initial third stimulus check.

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Even as their people weigh the possibility of a fourth check, many Americans are frantically trying to trace their third stimulus check or trying to find out why they missed out on it.

Reasons You Could Have Missed Out On Your Third Stimulus Check

One of the major causes for the initial delay was that the third stimulus check dates clashed with the income tax filing season. This overwhelmed the IRS initially. Many Americans had yet to file their 2020 income tax returns. And rather than be faced with an enormous backlog the IRS preferred to send the initial checks to tax filers based on their 2019 returns.

This created grounds for the discrepancy in the actual amount due and the amount sent. The IRS has been making up for the difference through the ‘plus-up checks. They comprise a significant percentage of the latest batch of stimulus payments that went out in May and June. The IRS has more or less stuck to the schedule of sending out regular batches of checks every week.

Delay Due To The Postal Service

stimulus check
stimulus check
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While the bulk of the initial payment in March and April were paid through direct bank transfers, subsequent stimulus checks were sent through the US postal service. The normal time taken for a bank transfer is less than a week. That has been stretched to anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks before you receive your paper check or a pre-paid debit card.

To check the status of your stimulus check or the mode of your payment you can log in to the IRS’ Get My Payment tool. Though you will not get to know the amount that you will be receiving, you can know these two vital details.

Be careful to preserve the letter sent by the IRS a couple of weeks after they send the stimulus check. The letter, signed by the President, contains details of your payment including the amount. This is the only official letter confirming your stimulus check and you should carefully retain it for later reference. You will even need it while filing your 2021 income tax returns next year.

Be careful you do not mistake your stimulus check for junk mail. During the first round of stimulus payments, this happened when people mistook the $1,200 check or prepaid debit card issued in the mid of 2020 to be junk mail and discarded it.

Failure To Inform The Authorities Of Any Change Address or Bank Details

You must take care to notify the IRS if you either change your mailing address or the bank account that is linked to the IRS. If you have moved and failed to notify the IRS, the stimulus check will be returned. There will be a significant delay before it is reissued.

The same problem arises if you switch the bank account that is linked to the IRS. If you fail to update that information, the IRS will not have the correct details to make a bank transfer of your stimulus amount. You will then have to wait for the stimulus check to be delivered through the postal service.

The easiest and quickest way to do so would be by filing your income 2020 tax returns if you haven’t already done so.

Your Stimulus Check May Have Been Garnished

The third stimulus check will not be garnished by any government agency. But private debt collectors, who were not allowed to touch the first and second stimulus checks have been allowed to garnish the third stimulus check to pay off private debts.

This was caused by a legislative loophole even as the third stimulus check was fast-tracked through without the support of the Republicans. The third stimulus check can be garnished to pay several types of private debts though it doesn’t include back child support or tax debts.

Being A Tax Filer Helps A Lot

Stimulus Check
Stimulus Check

Even if you do not fall within the tax bracket, filing your returns regularly helps to keep your details updated with the IRS. Anyone earning below $12,400 annually is not required to file a tax return in 2020 if he has no other additional income from self-employment. This is for individuals below 65 years.

But to get into the records of the IRS you need to either file your returns or update your information through the non-filers tool. But the latter option was not available for the third check.

Veterans, retired railroad workmen, and Social Security beneficiaries are not required to file their returns but their details are already entered in the records of the IRS.

But staying off the IRS radar will be a losing proposition with the stimulus check payment going out regularly. The administration has already given out a maximum of $3,200 through the three stimulus check payments in the past year.

Your Stimulus Payment Could Be Stuck In The Bank

Though it will not delay your payment significantly, at times stimulus payments sent to the bank are delayed as they have been future-dated by the IRS. The bank is allowed to credit it only on the date marked by the IRS. This system of effective data could delay your stimulus checks by a few days.

This happens in the case of Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase customers, and customers were infuriated and initially blamed the banks for the delay.

Be Sure That You Are Eligible For A Stimulus Check If You Haven’t Received Any

The threshold for receiving a $1,400 stimulus check was decreased from $100,000 for individual tax filers to $75,000 for the third check. for a couple of filing jointly it has been decreased from $200,000 to $150,000.

And individuals earning more than $80,000 and a couple earning above $160,000 will not receive any amount under the American Rescue Fund.

Also, be sure that you have entered all the necessary details, including the number of dependents, any addition to the family in 2020, or any drop in earnings in 2020 that might not have been updated in the records of the IRS. The third check will only be sent out till the end of this year, remember.

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