Still missing your first stimulus check? Track when it’s coming with this IRS tool – CNET

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If your stimulus check money still isn’t here, this online tool can help.
James Martin/CNET
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Still no stimulus check from the first round of coronavirus relief payments? There are two easy options to try and track it down, and in fact, you can use them both at the same time. Did you know that the US Postal Service has a free locator tool you can use to follow your check to your mailbox? Consider using it if your payment hasn’t arrived. But before you do, you should start with the IRS’ free Get My Payment app to get an idea of when your check might be on its way.

Although the IRS has sent the bulk of its stimulus checks to eligible Americans, we know that the agency will continue sending payments through the end of the year. We suggest trying that tool before contacting the IRS directly, except for some specific red-flag cases, during tax return and refund season.

The online Get My Payment tool can show you the amount of money that you qualified for under the CARES Act, your payment status, and any potential issues that might have held up your check or direct deposit. There is some information that you should have nearby before you use Get My Payment, which we’ll tell you about below, along with what to expect — like what happens if you see an error message.

You may also want to know the latest about a second stimulus check, including what the eligibility qualifications are and how much money might be coming to you.

What to know about using the Get My Payment tool

  • You’ll need to input your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) along with your date of birth, street address and postal code.
  • The IRS is sending payments on a schedule. Think of it as batches of payments that get sent at once, rather than individually. The Get My Payment tool can ballpark your scheduled date.
  • The IRS updates its status tracking information once a day. 
  • The tool may require you to enter your details in a specific way.
  • You should receive a letter about 15 days after the IRS issues your payment, with information on the amount you received and how you received it.

After using the IRS tracker, you could also sign up for a free service from the post office that tells you exactly when your stimulus check will arrive in the mail.

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If you’re waiting for your stimulus check to arrive, use the IRS tool as a starting point.
Angela Lang/CNET

How to track your stimulus check’s status and arrival

Note that when the tool first debuted, some people reported having trouble using the portal. Since then, the IRS said it has significantly improved the Get My Payment app to help you set up and track the date of your stimulus payment.

1. Head to the IRS’ Get My Payment page and tap the blue Get My Payment button to check the status of your economic impact payment. 

2. On the next page about authorized use, tap OK.

3. Now on the Get My Payment page, enter your SSN or ITIN, your date of birth, your street address and your ZIP or postal code. Tap Continue.

On the next page, the portal will show your payment status, whether it’s been scheduled or if the service can’t yet determine your status.

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How to deal with an error message

You may see confusing messages when using the status tool — so much so that the IRS explains common status messages in an FAQ. You may get a message if it’s impossible to determine your eligibility, for example, or your payment status is not available. Here are some initial reasons why Get My Payment may not be able to track your payment status, though the IRS has since said it’s improved its tool. In some cases, you may prefer to contact the IRS.

Find out if your check is in the mail

The IRS deadline to set up direct deposit with the government passed on May 13. If you didn’t set up your account, you’ll most likely get your check in the mail.

While most people will receive a paper check, the Treasury Department said 4 million people will get an Economic Impact Payment, or EIP, prepaid debit card instead (and as of the first week of June, it said these payments have been made). We’ve asked the US Treasury to clarify who gets a check and who gets a debit card.

Try this handy USPS mail-tracking service

If you’re waiting for your stimulus payment to arrive in the mail — either as a paper check or a prepaid debit card — the US Postal Service has a free app that can notify you when it’s about to deliver your letter from the IRS. Called Informed Delivery, the mail-tracking service automatically scans your letters and can alert you when they’ll be delivered. Here’s more on how to set up and use the letter-tracking service from the USPS to track your payment.

How to know when your stimulus check is really coming

There’s the method above, but also keep an eye out for an official letter that the IRS will mail to a taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after sending the payment. The letter will contain information on when and how the payment was made and how to report to the IRS if you didn’t receive your check. 

For more information, here’s everything to know about a second stimulus check, including when the next IRS checks could potentially get sent and who might qualify for more money.

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