‘Payment status not available:’ You might not be getting your stimulus check after all

Some will need to claim rebate on tax return

South Floridians not sure how much $600 stimulus checks will help
South Floridians not sure how much $600 stimulus checks will help

While $600 coronavirus stimulus payments have started hitting bank accounts across the nation, many won’t be receiving checks or direct deposits this time around.

The IRS has created a Get My Payment tool for qualifying Americans to see when their money is coming. For many, that tool shows that the payment has been deposited or on its way but for others, it reads, “Payment #2 Status - Not Available.”

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The resulting message claims, “We are unable to provide the status of your payment right now because:

  • We don’t have enough information yet (we’re working on this), or
  • You’re not eligible for a payment.”

The IRS issued a statement on Tuesday letting residents know that if they see that message, they should not to expect a stimulus payment.

“If (Get My Payment tool) shows ‘Payment Status #2 – Not Available,’ then you will not receive a second Economic Impact Payment and instead you need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Tax Return,” the statement read.

Users who get this message are encouraged to file their taxes early and electronically in order to get their rebate as quickly as possible.

“Because of the speed at which the law required the IRS to issue the second round of Economic Impact Payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or, is or no longer active, or unfamiliar. By law, the financial institution must return the payment to the IRS; they cannot hold and issue the payment to an individual when the account is no longer active,” the IRS said.

Reports surfaced this week that a number of taxpayers who use tax preparation services, such as H&R Block and TurboTax, had their $600 checks sent to the wrong accounts, causing them to have to wait longer for the much-needed cash.

TurboTax said earlier this week that the IRS was the “sole party with the ability to determine eligibility and distribute stimulus payments” and that by law, the financial institution must return the payment to the IRS if an account is no longer active.

“We know how important these funds are for so many Americans and that everyone is anxious to get their money,” company spokeswoman Ashley McMahon said. “We are partnering with the IRS to help taxpayers receive their payments as quickly as possible.”

On Friday, TurboTax released a statement saying the issue had been rectified.

“We are happy to share that stimulus payments will begin to be deposited starting January 8th. We expect most payments to be available that day, but your bank could take a few business days to process. Your payment will be deposited into the same bank account that you received your 2019 tax refund,” the statement said.

H&R Block said that it “understands stimulus checks are vitally important for millions of Americans” and said if the IRS Get My Payment website displays an account number a customer doesn’t recognize, then its customer service agents are ready to help by phone or online.

Those who end up having to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 taxes will either see their tax refund increased or the amount they owe will be reduced.

CNET has more information on how that rebate can be claimed here.