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Follow these steps to report your missing IRS stimulus check

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What is the correct way to report a lack of stimulus control to the IRS? We tell you.

Angela Lang / CNET

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Do you think your incentive payment has been missed, lost or stolen? In that case, it may be time to contact the IRS using the numbers below. However, calling the federal agency should be considered as a last resort, and there are some details you should have handy before calling.

There are common possible scenarios for a missing person stimulus control. Maybe the letter that contained the check or prepaid debit card was accidentally thrown away by someone in your household. Or maybe the IRS tried to make a direct deposit to a closed bank account or sent your money to an old address. (See more reasons why your stimulus control may still be delayed.)

Read on for suggestions on what to do if your payment never arrives. Then brush up how much money can be in a second stimulus check, who can be entitled, and when the second payment could come. This story is updated frequently.

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Report your late stimulus check to the IRS if …

If you are sure, you will meet qualifications for the first incentive check, these are warning signs for you to contact the IRS right now:

  • The Get my payment tracking tool reports that the IRS made your payment weeks ago and you did not receive it (see below).
  • You received a confirmation letter from the IRS stating that your payment had been sent, but that you did not receive the money.
  • You think you accidentally threw your prepaid card or checked in the trash (see below).
  • You suspect that someone stole your check or otherwise defrauded you.

Continue reading for more on these issues and that phone numbers may call to contact the IRS.

Did you get your IRS confirmation letter, but not the check?

A handful of CNET readers report that the IRS sent a letter confirming their payment but did not receive their check.

“Last week I received a letter in the mail saying I received my payment. But no, I did not,” a CNET reader had reported after receiving the confirmation letter the IRS sends out 15 days after the payment was sent.

The IRS did not answer our question about how it handles payments that have been reported to have been sent but that people say are missing.

Is the IRS waiting for you to submit another form?

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return or receive government benefits, the IRS will automatically send your check without you having to do anything.

However, if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, had a gross income in 2019 below $ 12,200 – or $ 24,400 as a married couple – and do not file a return for 2018 or 2019, you may need to provide the IRS with some information before it can process your payment. Go to the non-filers website and see if the IRS needs anything from you.

The non-filter tool will be available until October 15, the IRS told CNET, and people who sign up for a payment with the tool before then will receive their check by the end of the year.

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Is your stimulus control inside?

Sarah Tew / CNET

Did you use the IRS Get My Payment tracking portal?

It’s worth visiting the IRS’s online portal designed to track the status of your 2020 payment. In general, it should tell you when your check will be processed and how you will receive it (for example, as a paper check in the mail). If the Get My Payment tool does not provide you with information that you can understand or say your check is on its way and you have not received it, you may eventually need to report the discrepancy to the IRS.

Did you get a “Need More Information” message from the Get My Payment app?

If the Get My Payment tool gave you a payment date but you still have not received your money, the IRS may need more information. Check the Get My Payment tool again and if it reports “Need more information”, this may indicate that your check has been returned because the post office could not deliver it, an IRS representative told CNET.

When you see the message “Need more information”, the online tool allows you to enter your bank information to get your payment directly to your bank account. The IRS said if you do not provide your bank account information, the agency will hold your payment until it receives a current mailing address. Go to the IRS Address Change page for how to update your IRS address.

Could you have accidentally thrown your check or debit card in the trash?

Four million people will receive their stimulus money on a prepaid debit card called a financial debit card instead of a paper check. The EIP card arrives in a regular envelope, says the IRS, with “Money Network Cardholder Services” as the sender.

Some people who take it for spam may have incorrectly discarded these letters. If you have missed or discarded your card, the EIP card service has a FAQ on what to do if your card is lost or stolen. You can also call 800-240-8100 to request a refund. It is free, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of Finance. To request a new card, press option 2 when prompted.

However, the EIP card website says “Your card will be disabled to prevent anyone from using it and a new replacement card will be ordered. Charges may apply.”

We recommend that you call the above number for a lost or stolen card and talk to a representative.

Did the IRS send your check to a closed account?

Your check may have been returned to the tax authorities if the agency tried to send your payment to a now closed bank account or to a temporarily prepaid debit card that a tax preparer has created for you. If your payment was returned to the IRS, the agency will send your check to the current address it has for you.

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Did the federal government receive your payment?

If you owe child support, the IRS may redirect your payment to cover overdue support. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service will send a notification if this happens.

Was your payment part of what you think you owe?

Another, but related issue may be a change in your income in 2020. In some cases, the tax authority may owe you more money than you received if the income figure used to calculate your payment from your 2018 or 2019 tax returns is less in 2020.

Similarly, if you now have a new addict, such as a child, that is not reflected in your tax returns, you may owe more money. In either case, the IRS said, you can claim the additional amount on your 2020 tax return when you file next year. We recommend that you keep a detailed record so that you do not forget it.

Did someone steal it from your mailbox or cheat on you?

Even if it’s unusual, you may think you’ve been there cheated out of your payment or had it stolen. The Federal Trade Commission has a website where you can report a stolen stimulus check. We have asked the tax authorities what other use you have if this situation applies to you and we will update this article when we hear back. If you are concerned about theft, you can sign up for a free USPS service that will do so send you a picture of every post that comes your way – including your incentive payment.

How to call the IRS to inquire about your late stimulus check

If you reach the IRS by phone, it’s a good idea to give yourself plenty of time for the call. We would not be surprised if the call volume is up or if calls take some time. It’s also a smart idea to collect your information in front of you, such as a copy of your most recent tax ID and the letter the IRS sent if you received one.

Within 15 days after the payment is sent, the IRS will send a letter to you confirming the payment. At the bottom of the letter is a number you can call for more information: 800-919-9835.

In May, the IRS added 3,500 telephone representatives to help with potential payment issues. The IRS helpline is 800-829-1040.

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