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Kokua Line: Missing a second stimulus check? IRS won’t start a trace until late February

Question: When I checked on the status of my second stimulus payment, it said a check would be mailed on Jan. 6. Is it lost?

Answer: Not necessarily. The Internal Revenue Service had previously said it may take four weeks from the issue date to receive an Economic Impact Payment (aka stimulus) in the mail. In an update Friday, it said that people expecting payments in the mail should wait until after Feb. 24 to initiate a payment trace, assuming your check still hasn’t arrived by then.

If you’ve moved recently and have a forwarding address on file with the post office, you should wait even longer, until March 10, the agency said.

In answer to other readers, the timeline is different for direct deposits. If the Get My Payment tool on irs.gov said you would get a direct deposit and your bank has not received it five days after the indicated deposit date, you may initiate a payment trace at that point. To do so, call the IRS at 800-919-9835 or mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund (808ne.ws/Form3911).

Don’t try to start a payment trace ahead of the timeline; the IRS won’t process it.

Also, no one should use a payment trace to figure out whether they were eligible for a payment or what the amount should have been. Use the Get My Payment tool to find that out.

Q: My mom and brother each received the full $600 but I only got a portion. Is that because I owe back taxes?

A: No, that shouldn’t be the reason. The IRS said a person’s second Economic Impact Payment would not be offset because the person owed federal tax, had a payment agreement with the IRS or owed other federal debts. Neither would it be reduced because a person or their spouse owes past-due child support, the agency said.

It could be that your 2019 adjusted gross income was significantly higher than your mother’s or your brother’s. The stimulus gradually phases out for individuals with AGI above $75,000.

Q: Regarding the stimulus, to qualify for the child payment, did the child have to live with you?

A: Yes, for more than half of 2019, according to the IRS. There are numerous other requirements for that $600 payment as well, including that the child be claimed as your dependent and have a valid Social Security Number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number.

Q: Is the state sending out tax booklets this year?

A: No. “This will be the first year DOTAX will not provide Individual Income, General Excise, Transient Accommodations and Withholding packets or booklets to individuals via mail. Taxpayers may use HTO to file and pay taxes online or can access fillable PDF forms from our website,” at tax.hawaii.gov/forms, the state Department of Taxation said in a news release.

HTO stands for Hawaii Tax Online, found at hitax.hawaii.gov

Q: Not everyone can get online. Where can we pick up forms?

A: The state tax department says all Hawaii tax forms that have been revised in 2020 are also available at district tax offices. Hawaii public libraries also have some forms, it says, but availability varies, so contact your local library for more information.


The stimulus card is humbug. The check was better. They just want us to spend the money. I want to save mine. — A reader

(Numerous other readers expressed similar sentiments about the Economic Impact Payment prepaid debit card. It is possible to transfer money from the card to your bank account. See eipcard.com for instructions, or call customer service at 1-800-240-8100. The card must be activated before funds can be transferred.)


Last Monday, I lost my coin purse containing cash and some coins in the Ross parking lot at Windward Mall and I thought I lost it for good. But, a couple of days later, I noticed it was between the windshield and wiper blades on my vehicle. My deepest thanks, and I only regret not being able to say that to you in person! — C.C.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

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