North Texans reported delays in receiving the latest round of stimulus payments after logging onto the IRS website and learning the IRS deposited payments into accounts they didn’t recognize.
Major tax prep service providers said the IRS direct deposited stimulus payments into temporary accounts set up last tax season for refund transfer services.
People reported similar issues during in the first round of stimulus payments last April. Some customers who use tax prep services that allowed them to pay their tax preparer with their tax refund, customers who got a refund anticipation loan, refund anticipation check or had their refund loaded onto a prepaid debit card saw their stimulus payments delayed.
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This week, some companies said they can forward the payments to customers while others said customers will need to claim the stimulus payments on their income taxes to receive the payments.
In an email to NBC 5 Responds, H&R Block wrote, in part, “H&R Block understands stimulus checks are vitally important for millions of Americans. The IRS determines where second stimulus payments were sent, and in some cases, money was sent to a different account than the first stimulus payment last spring.”
The company, on Twitter, said it is working with the IRS to transfer the payments directly to customers.
At least one North Texas customer reported receiving an email late Tuesday night from H&R Block confirming the stimulus payment and that the company would be transferring it.
TurboTax said it’s working with the IRS to fix the issue and transfer funds directly to customers. Friday, TurboTax said stimulus payments for millions of customers affected by the IRS error would be deposited starting January 8th.
Liberty Tax shared a statement with NBC 5 saying, in part, “Because of the speed at which the IRS issued this second round of payments, some payments were sent to taxpayers’ bank product temporary accounts, such as Refund Transfer offered by Liberty Tax, versus permanent bank accounts. Since the 2020 filing season had concluded at the time of the stimulus disbursements, the accounts were closed by the banks. By law, the banks were required to return the payment to the IRS and not issue the payment to an individual when the account is no longer active.”
Brent Turner, Liberty Tax CEO, said in the statement, “If your stimulus was returned to the IRS, we’ll help you file your 2020 taxes, claim your credit, and get it as quickly as possible.”
Liberty cites IRS guidance and said that if customers find their stimulus payment is “Not Available” on the “Get My Payment” portal, customers would have to include the stimulus payment on the rebate recovery when filing their 2020 income tax returns.
I don’t have a stimulus payment yet, when will it come?
Getting a direct answer from a person at the IRS is difficult. The IRS is telling people not to call the IRS and instead use its online tracking tool to check on the status of a stimulus payment. Scroll down to the blue "Get My Payment" button.
According to the IRS, the first official day funds could be available was Monday, Jan. 4. Some direct deposit payments could take several more days.
If you opted for paper checks or a debit card during the last stimulus and you haven’t updated the IRS with bank account information since then, expect a payment in the mail again. The IRS said physical cards and checks will continue to go out through the month of January.
Do I have to take any action to get the payment?
You don’t have to sign up for payments. The payments should be automatic.
If you've filed a tax return in recent years, are a Social Security or disability beneficiary, or are a disabled veteran, you qualify for the payments.
The IRS sends payments to the direct deposit account it has on file for either your tax refund or benefits.
What if there’s a mistake or I’m missing a payment?
Getting in touch with the IRS is nearly impossible right now.
If you’re tracking your payment and the online payment tracker says, “Payment Status #2 – Not Available”, you can claim the stimulus payment on your 2020 tax return. The IRS begins accepting returns for this tax season later this month. April 15 is the deadline to file.
“You have one way to correct this, which is in the 2020 tax return,” explains Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation.
“If, as you process your return, you think there is a mistake when it comes to the payment you've received, you can receive any additional payment you may be eligible for. That's true of this payment. It's also true of the original CARES Act payment,” continued Watson.
Is the stimulus payment $2,000 or $600?
There was debate about increasing the payments. As of now, that hasn’t happened.
“President Trump and many Democrats in Congress pushed for higher payments up to $2,000. There was a bill that was passed by the House that would do that, but it did not make it past the Senate yet,” explained Watson.
Currently, people who made up $75,000 in 2019 will get a $600 stimulus payment. Couples who earned up to $150,000 will get up to $1,200. Payments phase out as income goes up.
Families can also receive another $600 for each dependent under 18.
That means adults who are claimed as dependents on someone else’s taxes, like an adult college student, do not receive any stimulus payments.
Changes for families with mixed immigration status
In the last round of stimulus payments, we reported some couples with different immigration statuses were excluded.
If one person had a Social Security number and their spouse didn’t, the family was not eligible for a stimulus payment.
This time, payments will go to the eligible household members with Social Security numbers. Families can also claim the first round of stimulus in their tax 2020 return.
“We were penalizing families,” said Juan Carlos Cerda, an immigration reform advocate with the Texas Business Immigration Coalition.
He said the provision passed in the latest relief package by Congress is welcome news for families with mixed-immigration status who pay income taxes.
“These 291,000 individuals are taxpayers who gave money to our federal government. The least we can do for them is to provide these economic impact payments so that they can sustain their families during this very difficult economic moment,” said Cerda.
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