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Where’s my stimulus check? A new reason your money might be delayed

Published Apr 23rd, 2020 2:11PM EDT
Stimulus check status
Image: ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
  • Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed a massive, $2.2 trillion stimulus package at the end of March that included money for direct stimulus payments of up to $1,200 for individuals (or $2,400 for married couples) for most Americans.
  • If you’ve been trying to figure out where your stimulus payment is and checking the IRS’ stimulus check status tracker regularly, there’s a new reason to be aware of that might account for why your payment has been delayed.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Even though the IRS has started sending out the first wave of stimulus checks to Americans as part of the $2.2 trillion legislation Congress passed at the end of March to address the economic pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are still waiting to receive their money.

There are all sorts of reasons why you might still be waiting on your stimulus check, from the IRS not having your direct deposit information on file (in which case you’ll have to wait for a paper check to arrive through the mail, which will take longer) to filing your taxes late, in which case the IRS wouldn’t have all the information it needs to determine your eligibility in a timely manner. The vast majority of Americans are eligible to get something as a result of this emergency stimulus action, though, which provides for up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples (with an extra $500 for each child under the age of 17). You can also check the status of your stimulus payment via a stimulus check tracker the IRS set up. However, a new report has identified another possible reason to be aware of that explains why you might be waiting on your stimulus money a little longer.

The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the tax preparation service company you use might have inadvertently caused a problem in getting a payment out to you quickly. That’s if you previously filed your taxes, in 2018 and/or 2019, with a company like TurboTax, Jackson Hewitt, or H&R Block.

When taxpayers use those services, they sometimes opt to get their IRS refund faster by essentially getting a loan advance from those companies against that refund, often provided through a debit card linked to a temporary bank account. If that detail is among the information sent to the government about a particular tax filer, that might delay the stimulus money being sent where it needs to go if an accurate bank account was not on file with the IRS.

This is yet another reason to be aware of the cost associated with these refund anticipation loans, which can also hit a customer with fees of up to $45 on top of a tax preparation fee of a few hundred dollars.

According to a Jackson Hewitt spokeswoman, “The IRS has not announced how it will send the stimulus payment to taxpayers who selected (refund) bank products during their most recent tax filing. We are directing clients to Get My Payment to find their payment status, type, and whether the IRS needs more information, including bank account information.” Similarly, an H&R Block spokeswoman said the IRS should have all the up-to-date information from its customers, but “They have created confusion by not always using clients’ final destination bank account information for stimulus payments.

“We share our clients’ frustration that many of them have not yet received these much-needed payments due to IRS decisions, and we are actively working with the IRS to get stimulus payments sent directly to client accounts.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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