The IRS has begun delivering the second round of stimulus checks to millions of bank accounts, providing $600 for each eligible adult and child. But according to tax prep firm Jackson Hewitt, as many as 13 million people may experience delays in receiving their money after the IRS sends the money to closed or invalid bank accounts.
Some people who don’t receive their checks may have to wait to file their 2020 taxes, when they can claim the stimulus payment as a tax credit, the IRS said. That could mean waiting several more weeks for their incentive checks, which would be sent via tax refund. The IRS typically begins accepting tax returns for the previous calendar year in late January and begins processing them in February.
The latest failure in delivering millions of stimulus checks can slow the recovery effort of the, pushing 8 million Americans into poverty. In some cases, the IRS sent checks to temporary accounts created by tax preparation services such as H&R Block, TurboTax and Jackson Hewitt, which are typically used to deposit tax refunds. But those accounts, set up for last year’s repayments, are currently not valid, leading to delays in delivering the money.
In other cases, people may have closed the accounts they used last year when the IRS handed out the first round of stimulus checks. The IRS said it relies on the same bank details it used to deliver the $1,200 checks in the first round of payments last spring and is unable to update bank details for the current round of $600 checks.
“Unfortunately, the IRS has confirmed that certain processing issues on their side will lead to payment delays for many Americans awaiting the exemption they qualify for,” said Mark Steber, the chief tax information officer at Jackson Hewitt in a company blog post. . “It is estimated that the IRS has inadvertently sent payments to more than 13 million bank accounts that are no longer open or valid.”
H&R Block said Tuesday it was already receiving a large number of calls and emails from customers. “The IRS determines where second stimulus payments were sent, and in some cases the money was sent to a different account last spring than the first stimulus payment,” the company said on Twitter.
The IRS and the Treasury did not immediately return a request for comment.
Even with past stimulus, millions of Americans struggle with greater hardships, from problems paying their bills to food insecurity, after the coronavirus pandemic turned the economy upside down and cost millions of people their livelihoods.
A majority of Americans say they plan to use the $600 checks as soon as they receive them, according to a new survey from Doxo. The bill paying service found that nearly 6 in 10 people will use the stimulus funds for household bills, while another 2 in 10 will use the money to feed their families or pay credit card bills. Only about 1 in 10 will throw the money away, Doxo reported.
The stimulus money won’t last long for many households, Doxo predicted, noting that the typical mortgage in America costs homeowners more than $1,200 a month, while renters pay more than $1,000 a month on average.
No check for $600?
People should visit the “Get My Payment” site on the IRS website to determine how and when their checks were mailed to them. The site must inform people of an instant deposit date and provide account details, where their checks were sent.
However, some people report not recognizing the account number, which could very well be due to using a temporary account set up by their tax preparation companies last year.
The Get My Payment site will also let people know if their checks have been mailed, which can take three to four weeks to reach their recipients, the IRS said.
The IRS says that stimulus checks sent to accounts that are closed or no longer active must by law be returned to the IRS. In other words, the financial institutions cannot hold and reissue payments to their customers.
In that situation, people will have to wait for their 2020 tax refunds, this winter and spring, to receive their second incentive checks, the IRS added. Taxpayers faced with that opportunity should file their tax refund via electronic filing as soon as possible and claim the check through the “Cashback Discount Credit” on their 2020 tax return. The money will be sent through their tax refund.
But the IRS hasn’t opened its 2020 tax filing systems yet. Normally, the agency is ready for tax returns at the end of January and accepts tax returns until April 15. This means that people who have not yet received an incentive check will have to wait weeks or even months to receive their payment.