As a result of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery bill, qualifying adults should expect to see $1,400 payments, in addition to $1,400 for each dependent child under the age of 17 and for each qualifying adult dependent, such as a college student or elderly relative. Qualifying couples who file a joint tax return can expect payments of $2,800.
But what if you didn’t get your check Wednesday? Michael Hunsche, the managing director of Hunsche CPA Group/Management and Tax Services, said you shouldn’t worry just yet since there could be a variety of reasons.
“I don’t know what the criteria is for who got paid today,” Hunsche said Wednesday. “But it’s nothing that I’m freaking out about or worried about.”
According to Hunsche, the biggest issue is that the IRS, which is set up to be a collection agency and not a payment agency, is simply overwhelmed.
“They’re trying to issue stimulus payments in their busiest time of year, and you’ve got millions of people filing tax returns at the same time that they’re trying to get something that they were never set up to do in the first place,” said Hunsche. “It’s really just made the IRS more of a mess than they already are.”
He said other reasons why you may not have gotten your payment on Wednesday include:
- You haven’t filed your taxes yet
If you have not filed a 2020 tax return, then the IRS will use your 2019 tax return to determine your eligibility for the stimulus check.
“That would be what they’d be basing everything off of, and if you didn’t do the direct deposit with your refund or if you didn’t get a refund, it’s possible that they don’t even have a bank account on file,” said Hunsche.
- You filed your taxes by paper
Hunsche said if you did not file your tax return electronically, it likely hasn’t been processed yet.
- You moved or changed bank accounts
This actually happened to Hunsche with the second round of payments.
“We had moved, so when the IRS wants to issue the second round of stimulus payments for the direct deposit, the information that they had for me personally was no longer what my bank account was showing, so I assume that’s why we didn’t get our direct deposit,” he said.
He said this could cause the IRS to send paper payments or checks instead of doing direct desposit.
- Your income went up in 2020 compared to 2019
The payments start declining for an individual once adjusted gross income exceeds $75,000 and go to zero once income hits $80,000. The payment starts declining for married couples when income exceeds $150,000 and goes to zero at $160,000.
- If you owe money, such as child support
Debt collectors can garnish funds from the stimulus checks, something consumers were previously protected against.
Hunsche’s advice to those eager to get their checks is to be patient.
“If you don’t get it today, it’s not the end of the world. It’ll probably still come,” he said. “Generally, by about the end of the month, everybody should start seeing their payments, or at least be notified of what’s going on as to why you didn’t get your direct deposit today.”
He said you’d most likely be notified by a letter in the mail.
To track the status of your payment, click here.