Millions of Americans will soon receive another round of stimulus checks, up to $1,400 per adult and $1,400 for dependents, depending on adjusted gross incomes reported on 2020 federal tax returns, if filed, or 2019 returns. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) started issuing payments as soon as the latest stimulus plan was passed, with a third batch of payments expected to be released on March 24, 2021. For many Americans this money will help in a time of severe economic uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic.
You'll want to make sure you get your stimulus payment as promptly as possible. As with previous stimulus payments, the IRS will be responsible for issuing payments. Here are a few tips to ensure the IRS gets your stimulus money to you without delay when it's available.
1. Make sure the IRS has your correct address.
If you have moved since filing your 2020 or 2019 tax return you need to let the IRS know your new address if the agency does not have your direct deposit details. Otherwise you risk having your stimulus check sent to your former address.
Luckily it's a fairly straightforward process to change your address on record with the IRS. You simply file Form 8822 (Change of Address) with the IRS. You can also call the IRS with the information, although keep in mind, with limited staff on hand, your wait time on the phone may be long. Note that it can take four to six weeks for your change of address to process with the IRS.
2. Make sure the IRS has your correct name.
If you married, remarried, or divorced and changed your name, or legally changed your name for another reason since filing your last tax return, you may experience a delay in receiving your payment. Why? If you filed with a different name on your 2019 tax return, changed your name with the SSA, and haven't yet filed a return for 2020 with your new name, these scenarios could trigger a delay. The IRS typically checks their records against SSA records when issuing payments, and if the names don't match, they don't issue payment until everything matches up.
Your options: if you moved as well as changed your name, Form 8822 (Change of Address) gives you an option to inform them of your name change (line 5a). Second, you can call the IRS at 800-829-1040 and let them know you've changed your name through the SSA; keep in mind, however, that the IRS is short-staffed right now so wait times on the phone are long. Or third, you can file your 2020 federal income tax return with your new name as reflected in the SSA's system and keep your fingers crossed that you beat the federal government's timeline for issuing stimulus payments.
3. Correct your direct deposit information.
Stimulus payments will be issued to taxpayers via direct deposit with the routing and account numbers they provided on their 2020 or 2019 tax returns; these taxpayers will get their stimulus money much faster than those who get refunds by check. If you've closed an account that the IRS has on record, they'll attempt to make the direct deposit, but when it doesn't go through, they'll issue a paper check and mail it to you. Unfortunately the only way you can change or correct your bank account information is on your tax return. Don't remember what information the IRS has for your direct deposit? You can check it here.
4. File your tax returns.
If you haven't filed your 2019 or 2020 tax return yet, you can still receive your third stimulus payment. How? By filing as soon as you can. The IRS urges filers to visit a tax professional or local community organization for tax assistance to get help with their tax returns. The stimulus payments will be available through 2021.
According to the IRS, If you didn't get a first and second Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amounts, you may be eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. To get this credit, you must file a 2020 tax return even if you don't usually file a tax return. Learn more about the credit here.
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