Still missing a stimulus check? IRS payment trace works for these 2 scenariosFebruary 25, 2021
By now, millions of Americans have received their, and we’re gearing up for a with , as Democrats speed their through approvals this week. But what about those who still haven’t received their stimulus checks from 2020? It probably wasn’t lost in the mail, but there are . If you’re missing a stimulus check, there are a few ways to go about recovering it.
Asramps up, you’ll have a chance to you’re owed on your 2020 tax return. This can be done through a (even ). But in some situations, you may need to contact the IRS directly and request something called a payment trace to track down your money. How do you know which camp you’re in? We’ll help you figure out what to do. (We’ve also got a list of some other , and you can use our you should have received.)
Here’s everything you need to know about what an IRS payment trace is, the two cases in which you may need to request one instead of filing for a Recovery Rebate Credit on your taxes, and how to get started. We’ve also got stimulus payment guides for, , , and . Plus, here’s what we know so far about a , including , and . This story was recently updated.
Scenario 1: The IRS online app says the agency sent your check, but it never actually arrived
If your Get My Payment to find out its status. We have full instructions on . You’ll need to plug in your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, date of birth, street address and ZIP or postal code.is missing, you should first go to the free IRS online payment tracking tool called
The portal will show your payment status, if your money has been scheduled to send, and the payment method (or ) and date. You might also see a different message or an error. (By the way, here’s why you might want to if you haven’t already.)
You’ll need to request a Payment Trace if the Get May Payment portal shows that your payment was issued, but you haven’t received it within these timeframes:
- 5 days since the deposit date in Get my Payment and your bank says they haven’t received it.
- 4 weeks since it was mailed by check to a standard address for the first check; after Feb. 24 for the second check.
- 6 weeks since it was mailed and you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office for the first check; March 10 for the second check.
- 9 weeks since it was mailed and you have a foreign address for the first check; March 31 for the second check.
Scenario 2: You got a letter from the IRS confirming that your payment was sent, but you never got a check
About 15 days after the IRS sent your second stimulus check (by either, or ), you should have gotten confirming your payment and giving you a way to get in touch to report any problems. If you received this letter — also called Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment — but you never received your payment, you’ll need to request a Payment Trace. Make sure you keep the letter — you’ll need the information to file your claim. (Here’s what to do if you .)
How to request a Payment Trace from the IRS now
To request a Payment Trace, call the IRS at 800-919-9835 or mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund. (Note that if you call the number, you’ll have to listen through the recorded content before you can connect with an agent.) Find out where to mail or fax that form for your state on the IRS website.
To complete Form 3911, the IRS provides the following instructions:
- Write “EIP” on the top of the form (EIP stands for Economic Impact Payment)
- Complete the form answering all refund questions as they relate to your payment
- When completing item 7 under Section 1:
- Check the box for “Individual” as the Type of return.
- Enter “2020” as the Tax Period.
- Do not write anything for the Date Filed.
- Sign the form. If you’re married and filing together, both spouses must sign the form.
You should not mail Form 3911 if you’ve already requested a trace by phone. And you should not request a Payment Trace to determine if you were, or to , the IRS said.
How will the IRS process my Payment Trace claim?
The IRS will do the following to process your claim, according to its website:
- If you didn’t cash the check, the IRS will issue a replacement. If you discover the original check among your belongings, you’re expected to return it as soon as possible.
- If you did cash the refund check, expect a claim package from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, which will include a copy of the cashed check. Then, follow the included instructions. The Bureau will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before deciding if they’ll issue a replacement. This is presumably to guard against .
When can I expect to receive my missing stimulus money?
You should get a response from the IRS about six weeks after the agency receives your request for a Payment Trace, according to its website. However, this could be delayed due to limited staffing.
For more on stimulus checks, check out all the, everything we know about a so far, and .