An update from the IRS has reportedly made the experience smoother, but just in case, we wanted to share some of the most common issues people previously ran into, and how you might be able to fix at least some of them. Note that this list isn’t exhaustive and not every example may apply to your situation. And once you do have an idea of whether your payment’s been sent, you can use a free USPS service to find out exactly when your specific stimulus check is coming in the mail — with a photo of the envelope included.
We’ve now heard from several people that accessing the IRS’ Get My Payment tool from a different browser than the one originally used could be the key to success. In particular, some CNET readers pointed out that trying a browser other than Google Chrome worked from them. Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Apple’s Safari are common alternatives. Here are some more.
Try typing your address in all caps
Now, we haven’t been able to verify this one with the IRS, but we did reach out to ask about it. Apparently, Twitter users who haven’t previously been able to complete setting up their direct deposit were able to do so by filling in the Get My Payment fields using uppercase letters, Mashable reports. It’s certainly worth a shot.
You checked at the ‘wrong’ time of day
The IRS only updates information once a day, so if you happen to time it before the update comes in, you may be out of luck. You can always try again later in the day or keep checking at the same time each day.
You entered your information incorrectly
The simplest reason the IRS might not be able to match you with your stimulus payment status could come down to your keyboard. If you accidentally entered a typo, the wrong address or a different name than the government has under your record, the tool may not be able to find you. This one is simple enough to correct — so try again before assuming the worst.
You used Turbo Tax, H&R Block or other tax-preparation apps to file past taxes
Several million people who filed their taxes via H&R Block, TurboTax and other services were unable to get their payments because the IRS did not have their direct deposit information on file, according to the Treasury, companies and experts.
The IRS and Treasury departments are aware of the problems and are working on a fix, the Washington Post also said. We have repeatedly reached out to the IRS for more information.
Turbo Tax provided this statement in an email to CNET:
The bank account information for TurboTax filers is transmitted to the IRS as a part of the tax return. The IRS has the appropriate banking information for all TurboTax filers that received a refund electronically, which can be used by them to distribute stimulus payments. This is true regardless of whether a customer chose to receive their refund on a debit card, selected refund transfer or other services.
Any TurboTax customer who selects a refund transfer or a debit card and gets a stimulus payment sent from the IRS to those accounts will receive those stimulus payments without delay or fees into the account they received their tax refund.
The IRS is responsible for determining taxpayer eligibility for receiving a stimulus and, if a taxpayer is eligible, how and when the stimulus payments will be delivered to them. The IRS would be the best source for additional information related to their online stimulus tracking tools and payment details and timing.
You haven’t filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return
It the IRS can’t determine if you’re eligible in the first place, you may see an error message that reads “Payment Status Not Available.” If the IRS doesn’t have your tax information, this message could flash on screen.
Your 2019 return hasn’t been processed yet
If you filed your 2019 taxes ahead of the original April 15 deadline, but the IRS hasn’t had a chance to process you, it won’t be able to determine if you’re eligible for a stimulus payment of how much you’d receive.
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You don’t usually file a return, and your information isn’t in the system
You may still be eligible to receive a stimulus payment if you don’t usually file taxes for a number of reasons. The IRS has a system in place for nonfilers (“Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here”), and for people who receive SSA, RRB Form 1099, SSI or VA benefits. The IRS advises that if you see the message “Payment Status Not Available,” your information may not have been processed or loaded into the system. The advice is to try again later.
You’re not eligible to receive a stimulus check
If you see the message “Payment Status Not Available” and you don’t belong to the group above, it may be you aren’t eligible to receive a stimulus check. It might be that your adjusted gross income from the previous year is high enough that you don’t qualify, or you might be in the specific age range that is excluded. We have a handy primer on eligibility, or you can check the IRS website directly.
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You didn’t answer the security questions correctly
The Get My Payment tool asks you for security questions to help verify your identity. If you get those wrong, it could lock you out of the system — temporarily, of course.
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You’ve temporarily been locked out of the Get My Payment tool
If you see a cryptic message that only says “Try again later,” you might be locked out of the tool.
According to the IRS, “If the information you enter does not match our records multiple times, you will be locked out of Get My Payment for 24 hours for security reasons. There is no need to contact the IRS.”