One of the flagship provisions in this bill is the third round of direct stimulus payments, this time for $1,400 per person. Stimulus payments started going out in mid-March, and if you’ve already received yours, that’s awesome, you don’t need to do anything else. But if you haven’t received your payment yet, this video is for you.
First things first, make sure you check on the status of your payment. The IRS has a lot of stimulus payments to issue, and they just haven’t gotten to some of them yet. You can check using the “Get My Payment” tool on the IRS website – a link is included in the video description.
If the Get My Payment tool tells you that your payment status is “Not Available,” you are probably a bit confused. And that’s understandable because the IRS is issuing this message as something of a catch-all to anyone who hasn’t been specifically scheduled to receive a payment, so what it actually means for you is unclear. It could mean that you are ineligible for payment, and you’re just not getting one. But it could also mean that the IRS isn’t sure if you’re eligible yet, so you might still be entitled to one later. Unfortunately, the IRS hasn’t set anything up to tell you specifically what the problem is. So, what can you do?
If you’re in this situation and you haven’t filed your 2020 return yet, filing immediately is probably the best way to get your stimulus payment as soon as possible. Stimulus eligibility can be determined by your 2019 or 2020 return, but the IRS only looks at 2019 if you haven’t filed 2020 yet. So, if your money is being held up by issues with your 2019, filing 2020 will sidestep that delay and allow you to get your money immediately. When you do file your 2020 return, you SHOULD do so electronically, either through commercial software or a tax preparer who has that capability. The IRS is still very backed up in processing physical mail because of pandemic-related delays. If you file a paper return, it can take months for them to process it, which defeats the purpose of filing to try to get your stimulus money quickly.
If you have filed your 2020 return and are still getting a “Status Not Available” message, things are a bit trickier, and there isn’t always a clear, neat solution. First, you can check on the status of your 2019 and 2020 returns by setting up and logging into your account on IRS.gov. You can also reach out to the Taxpayer Advocate Service for assistance. If you can get ahold of them, they should be able to tell you if there are any issues with our most recent return that might be holding up your stimulus payment.
If you need help with problems you are experiencing with your stimulus payment, you should seek professional assistance from a tax attorney. If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, you may be eligible for free assistance from a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic like us. If you’d like to know more about our services, please check out our website or give us a call.
Thanks for watching! Make sure to check out the rest of our videos about the American Rescue Plan and like and subscribe to our page!