Broker Check

IRS Stimulus Check Processing Issues

April 27, 2020

Many people have already received their Corona-virus tax relief and economic impact payments (stimulus payments) via direct deposit from the IRS. According to the IRS 80 million payments have been processed. However, this is only about 60% of the total payments the IRS expects to process. Therefore, there are still many people who have yet to receive their checks and are feeling frustrated due to the lack of information as to how the payments are being processed and when they can expect to receive their payments.

There are a number of issues that may have caused your stimulus check to be delayed. To start with, many people submit their income taxes without direct deposit information. This may be because they prefer to get their refund in the form of a paper check or they may have owed income tax with their federal return and paid by mailing in a check rather than having the money directly debited from their bank account. In these cases, the IRS does not have the bank information to process a direct deposit and will instead send a paper check. Now that the bulk of direct deposit stimulus payments have been processed the IRS will be sending out paper checks soon.

Those who do not file taxes may also find that it takes longer to get their stimulus checks as the IRS will need to coordinate with other agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs to process payments. This process may take some time as the IRS must cross reference which individuals receive Social Security or Veterans benefits, are due a stimulus payment, and do not file income tax returns. Otherwise the IRS could pay an individual twice based on their information being included in multiple databases. These payments will be paid out using the payment information on file with the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs.

Finally, some people are finding that their payments have been delayed because they filed their 2019 income taxes but it has not yet been processed by the IRS. Currently, the IRS is operating with reduced staffing levels due to social distancing requirements. Therefore, there are a large number of tax returns which were submitted but have yet to be processed. For those who filed their 2019 tax returns, the stimulus payment amount will be based on their 2019 income so it cannot be issued until after the 2019 income tax return is processed. The IRS has offered no timeline as to when taxpayers can expect their tax returns to be processed and their stimulus checks issued.

If you have not yet received your stimulus checks, it is possible to check the status of your stimulus payment on the IRS website using the following link: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments.

However, it should be noted that many people are finding that the IRS offers a vague explanation as to why payments have not yet been processed.

We do not recommend calling the IRS to check on your stimulus payment. In many cases the call wait time is so long that you will never get through to a real person. When people are able to get through to an IRS representative they are often referred to the IRS website for more information. If too many people call to check the status of their checks it will take IRS resources away from processing tax returns and issuing stimulus payments which could exacerbate the delays.