Question: The Internal Revenue Service says it sent my stimulus payment ($1,200) last month, but I never received it. No direct deposit, no check, no debit card, no nothing. The IRS website says it was sent, and I even got a letter in the mail “confirming” it was sent. But I never got any money. Now what?
Answer: You should request a payment trace from the IRS. Before explaining how to do so, though, a note to other readers who also expected an Economic Impact Payment (aka “stimulus”) that never arrived: This option (tracing a payment) is only for those who never received their EIP despite seeing a payment date on the “Get My Payment” app on irs.gov or receiving IRS Notice 1444 in the mail confirming that an EIP was issued.
Do not request a trace if you are trying to determine whether you are eligible for the EIP, are questioning the amount you did receive, or received some other unofficial payment notification that was not from the IRS.
So, for people who should request a trace, here are the agency’s instructions:
First, check with your bank to confirm that the payment was not made by direct deposit.
The IRS notice you received should have stated a specific issuance date for the missing payment. Request a trace if it has been more than:
>> Five days since the scheduled direct deposit date.
>> Four weeks since it was mailed by check to a standard address.
>> Six weeks since it was mailed, and you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office.
>> Nine weeks since it was mailed, and you have a foreign address.
A trace on an Economic Impact Payment follows the same process as a trace on a tax refund. You may start the process by phone, mail or fax.
To start the process by phone, call the IRS at 800-919-9835; expect a long wait time or recorded assistance as staffing is limited.
To start the process by mail or fax, submit a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, which you can fill out and print at 808ne.ws/eiptrace. A Hawaii resident should mail the form to Fresno Internal Revenue Service, 5045-E Butler Ave., Fresno, CA 93888; or fax it to 855-332-3068.
Here are IRS tips for filling out the form:
>> Write “EIP” on the top of the form. Complete Sections I, II and III.
>> When completing No. 7 under Section I, check the box for “Individual” as the type of return; enter “2020” as the tax period and leave the date filed blank.
>> Answer the refund questions as they relate to your EIP.
>> For taxpayers who are “married filing jointly,” both spouses must sign the form. (Although you are single, we’ve received this question from couples as well, who are missing a $2,400 payment.)
Q: How long will it take for the IRS to respond?
A: The federal agency says it generally responds within six weeks after receiving a request for a payment trace but that there may be delays due to limited staffing during the pandemic.
The IRS will process your request in one of two ways. If it originally sent a check that was never cashed, it will issue a replacement. However, if the original check was cashed, you’ll receive a claim package from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service that will include a copy of the cashed check. Follow the instructions in the claim package. BFS will review your response and the signature on the canceled check before deciding whether to issue another check.
Mahalo to the thoughtful and generous driver of a blue four-door Honda who graciously paid for my lunch in the drive-thru of Waipio Gentry Taco Bell. I will pay it forward with thoughts of your kindness. — Ray
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