🤔 Where’s Your Stimulus Check?

Dear Rich Lifer,

The second round of stimulus payments have been sent out! The IRS had until January 15 to directly deposit checks or mail physical copies or preloaded debit cards.

With this deadline comes and gone, many have still not received their payments and are left confused and frustrated. If you happen to be one of those people, fear not.

Today we will walk through everything you need to know about making sure you get your stimulus check if you are entitled to one.

And – with Biden and company now occupying the White House, this could prove to be the most important financial step you take in 2021.

Get Your Payment

First thing’s first, if you did not receive the second $600 stimulus check (or the first $1200 check for that matter) you should go to the free IRS online payment tracking tool called “Get My Payment.”

When you click that link you will have to enter some personal information such as your address, social security number and birthday to help confirm your identity.

Once you have input this information, the portal will show you your payment status, whether the check has been scheduled, the payment method (check or direct deposit) and the date.

The IRS sent payments out on a schedule and in batches so if your check has indeed been sent, this portal will tell you how and when. With the long weekend and delays in USPS there is a chance your check could still be en route.

However, do not be surprised if you get an error message if the portal cannot determine your eligibility, your payment status isn’t available or too many people are trying to use the portal.

Here are some common “error” messages explained…

Payment Trace

“Payment Status Not Available” is a very common error message, but it does not mean you are ineligible for a payment. It does, however, likely mean you will have to wait for the IRS to process your refund credit with the Recovery Rebate Credit (more on that to come) as part of the 2020 tax season.

If the portal says you’ve been sent a payment, but you have not received anything either by mail or in your bank account, you may need to report the missing payment to the IRS and file a stimulus check Payment Trace.

You may request a Payment Trace if you fall into any of these categories:

  • It has been 5 days since the deposit date in Get my Payment and your bank says they haven’t received it
  • It has been 4 weeks since it was mailed by check to a standard address
  • It has been 6 weeks since it was mailed and you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office
  • It has been 9 weeks since it was mailed and you have a foreign address

Additionally, if the IRS claims it has sent a payment, you should receive a mailed letter (also called Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment) confirming the payment 15 days after the check was supposedly sent. If you receive this letter and no check, this is another reason to request a Payment Trace.

To request a Payment Trace, call the IRS at 800-919-9835 or mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund.

To complete the form follow these instruction:

Write “EIP” on the top of the form (EIP stands for Economic Impact Payment)

Complete the form answering all refund questions as they relate to your payment

When completing item 7 under Section 1:

  • Check the box for “Individual” as the Type of return.
  • Enter “2020” as the Tax Period.
  • Do not write anything for the Date Filed.
  • Sign the form. If you are married and filing jointly, both spouses must sign the form.

Do not mail a Payment Trace form if you have already requested one over the phone. You should expect at least six weeks to get a response from the IRS, according to their website.

The Recovery Rebate Credit

Now let’s circle back to the “Payment Status Not Available” message…

If this is what you see when you log into your IRS portal, don’t worry! You can still claim the recovery rebate credit on your 2020 tax return.

Let us explain…

The recovery rebate tax credit and the stimulus checks are two parts of the same thing. The way the law is written, both the first ($1,200) and second ($600) stimulus checks were simply advance payments of the credit.

So, if the combined total of your two stimulus checks is less than the recovery rebate credit amount, you may be able to get the difference back on your 2020 tax return in the form of a larger tax refund or a lower tax bill.

This means if you missed out on one or both of the checks, or you didn’t receive the full amount but think you were entitled to it, the recovery rebate credit is your saving grace!

You will use either the 2020 Form 1040 or the Form 1040-SR to claim the credit.

The only difference between the tax credit and the stimulus checks is that the tax credit eligibility will be based on your 2020 tax return, while stimulus check eligibility was based on your 2019 or 2018 tax return.

Basically, you can claim the recovery credit on your 2020 tax return if:

  • You are a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien
  • You can’t be claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return
  • You have a Social Security number valid for employment that’s issued before the due date of your 2020 tax return (including extensions).

This process can seem confusing and daunting, but it’s not as complicated as it seems. If you want additional help or information check out the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet the IRS has put together.

The Biden Administration plans to send out additional $1,400 stimulus payments as part of its new COVID-19 relief legislation. It is currently unclear how this stimulus payment will play into the tax credit, but we will continue to update you as we learn more!

To a Richer Life,

The Rich Life Roadmap Team

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