Many Americans will be receiving a $1,200 check as part of the first coronavirus relief bill passed by the federal government. While the bill was passed two weeks ago, it’s still unclear when most of us will actually receive this money. The IRS has begun direct depositing some checks, and it plans to launch an online tool to track your stimulus payment on April 17th. People with lower income as reported on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns will receive their checks first, paper checks may not start getting mailed until early May, and those who haven’t provided any information to the IRS could get their checks as late as September. In the meantime, here are a few steps you can take to ensure you get your stimulus check as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Set up a direct deposit
If you’d prefer not to deal with a paper check at all, there is an option to get the $1,200 direct deposited. If you’ve already given the IRS your bank account information for your tax refund, your stimulus check should automatically be deposited to that same account — and great news for you, the IRS has begun depositing checks. If you don’t have direct deposit set up with the IRS, you should be able to submit your bank info as part of the Get My Payment tool that will also launch on April 17th.
Make sure the IRS has your correct address
The checks will be sent to the address listed in your last tax return — if that’s incorrect and you haven’t filed a tax return this year, you need to inform the IRS of your current address as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there’s currently no way to change your address online. You’ll have to either fill out a form and mail it, or call the IRS to report your address. If you do it over the phone, you will need to provide your old address and social security number.
Watch out for scams
Don’t believe anyone who reaches out telling you they can get you your stimulus check faster — and certainly don’t give anyone your personal information. The IRS will not be withholding the stimulus check from anyone who might owe taxes, so don’t believe anyone who claims to be from the agency saying that your check will go directly to tax payments.
File your 2019 tax return
Yes, Tax Day has been postponed until July 15 this year, but if you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to file your taxes online as soon as possible. Filing taxes may be faster than reporting a new address or waiting for the IRS to open a separate portal for setting up direct deposits. Plus, there’s already a tool for tracking your tax refund.
It’s definitely frustrating to wait in limbo in a time of so much financial insecurity, but unfortunately there’s no lightning-quick shortcut to getting your check faster than others. We’ll have to continue waiting for the latest updates on how the IRS is distributing the stimulus checks.