This article and sections below provide information on ongoing IRS refund processing, payments for past stimulus checks/tax credits and other tax related information.
The 2024 tax season is now underway (see key dates) with the IRS expected to start processing 2023 returns from January 29th.
With the increased investment (via IRA bill) in the IRS infrastructure and no new stimulus or tax credit programs, it is expected that refund processing and payment (see estimated refund schedule) will be much smoother this year.
Stimulus checks or pandemic related tax credit boosts are no longer being paid and any missing payments will now need to be claimed via your tax returns for the applicable tax season. All direct deposits for processed returns have been completed and any missing payments will be sent by check once amended returns are filed (where applicable).
2023 Refunds Now Being Paid
Many tax filers are now seeing refund payments as the IRS continues processing of 2022 tax returns.
For example in the transcript snippet below, the tax filer submitted their return in early January 2023 and were scheduled to be processed in refund cycle 20230405 (see how the refund cycle code works).
This date corresponds to “Thursday, January 26, 2023,” which is more meaningful than the actual default date (02-13-2023) listed.
However you can see that the code 846 line has a date of “02-01-2023.” This is as expected, because it takes a few days for the refund to be paid based on your processing cycle (weekly or daily).
So this sequence of codes on the tax transcript is a good sign that the taxpayer will get their refund on or before February 01, 2023.
I am seeing more examples of this in the current tax season, which means the IRS is much more on top of processing returns this year!
IRS Reminders For Missing Payments (Non-Filers)
As part of its directive the IRS has started letters/notices to those who appear to qualify for a variety of the government tax credits and stimulus checks, but have yet to claim them by filing an applicable tax year return.
The is one IRS letter you should be happy to receive and will require action (filing a tax return) to claim one or more of these “free” government tax credits or payments.
Many of these potential claimants would not normally need to file a tax return, as their earned income (via W2’s, 1099s) could be too low for filing, but many of the expanded benefits over the last year don’t require any minimum income thresholds to get them.
Those earning less than $73,000 can also can also file for free under the IRS Free File program, which will remain open this year, until November 17, 2022. By doing so they will be able to claim one or more of the credits above at no additional cost to themselves.
Where’s My Refund? I filed my tax return weeks ago
If its been more than 21 days and you cannot get updates to find out what is happening with your tax refund processing via the WMR/IRS2Go refund checking tools or your tax transcript, you should call the IRS to see what the delay is.
Claiming Missing or Partial Stimulus Payments in 2022 via 2021 Tax Return Filing
The IRS has stopped making catch-up or retroactive stimulus payments. Per the latest FAQ they have announced that tax filers who didn’t get the full amount of the third Economic Impact Payments must file a 2021 tax return – even if you don’t usually file taxes – to claim the payment as a 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC).
This was the same process for 2020 EIP (stimulus check payments) in 2021, as discussed in the sections below. Any stimulus payments you receive will reduce the tax you owe for 2021 or increase your tax refund.
2021 payments claimed via your tax return can however be offset for any past due federal or state agency debt.
If you already got the third stimulus check as an advance payment in 2021, which would be reflected on IRS notice 1444-C or Letter 6475 mailed to you earlier this year, you do not need to take any action. It is a refundable credit and exempt from your gross income.
The IRS has it on their records and will automatically account for it when you file your return. You can also see a payment transaction history on your transcript or online IRS account.
Also note that the IRS is very clear that 2021 returns should only be used to claim missing or underpaid third stimulus (EIP) payments. Do not claim or report the first or second stimulus payments. You should instead file a 2022 (regular or amended) return to claim these. TurboTax and H&R block are the best options to help with this.
Advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) Stimulus Payments
The IRS has completed regular payments for the monthly $250 or $300 CTC payments to eligible tax payers for their dependents. You can see more on the payment schedule, issues and eligibility in this article, with the final schedule shown below.
Those who get paid via direct deposit should have gotten paid on or a day after the payment date. If you are getting paid via check or debit card, your payment may take up to a week longer. Monthly payments are worth roughly $15 billion in total are reaching nearly 35 million families, with around 86% getting paid via direct deposit.
|CTC Monthly Payment Date
|July 15th, 2021
|August 13th, 2021
|September 15th, 2021
|October 15th, 2021
|November 15th, 2021
|December 15th, 2021
(last payment in 2021)
|April 2022: Second half of payment paid via Tax filing
|File a free return
2021 Stimulus Checks (EIP) Batch Payment Schedule – Now Ended
If you’re were eligible to receive the stimulus payment and getting it via direct deposit (the fastest way), it will be automatically deposited into the same account used in your most recent, 2019 or 2020, IRS processed tax return.
The payment appeared in your account summary as “IRS TREAS 310 XXTAXEIP3” or something similar. Those who don’t have bank details on file with the IRS and prefer paper check will get the stimulus checks mailed to them in 2 to 4 weeks. You can always check the IRS Get My Payment (GMP) tool for the latest status of your payment.
|Stimulus (EIP) Check Activity
|Bill Signed Into Law
|March 11th, 2021
|Direct Deposit Stimulus (EIP) Payments Start
|From March 13th (in batches)
|Mailed Paper Checks and Debit EIP Cards
|Started March 19th (in batches)
|Social Security, SSI, SSDI Recipients
|Started March 22nd (in batches)
|Estimated start from mid-April
|Batch 1 Start Date*
|Batch 2 Start Date
|Batch 3 Start Date
|Batch 4 Start Date
|Batch 5 Start Date
|Batch 6 Start Date
|Batch 7 Start Date
|Batch 8 Start Date
|Batch 9 Start Date
|Batch 10 and Subsequent Batches
|May 14th and then weekly until the end of 2021
* Actual payment date may be a few days (~5) from Start date
Expect Delays, especially if you had previous payment issues
Like the previous round of stimulus/economic impact payments, there will likely be payment issues given the expanded eligibility and dependent groups now able to get this payment (e.g. college aged kids and elderly dependents). Also if you had issues in the past, and I know many are still waiting for the prior payments or had to claim them as a recovery rebate credit, expect some delays with the coming round of payments.
The good news is that the weekly batches will keep happening till the end of the year as the IRS aims to make payments to all eligible recipients (see plus-up payment details below). They are also actively sending payments to individuals for whom information was not earlier available but who recently e-filed a tax return.
Latest IRS payment status
The IRS have announced that they have sent out over 180 million EIP/Stimulus check payments worth over $420 billion, including the latest batch. Payments are primarily being sent based on 2019 or 2020 tax return data, or information the IRS has sourced for non-filers. The status and method for these payments is available on the GMP tool. Some payments also include tax credits related to the $10,200 unemployment income tax break provided under the ARPA bill.
The IRS also said that they are now processing all payments, including for non-filers and for recipients getting paid by paper check or prepaid debit card. Those who are getting their stimulus payment in the mail should start seeing their money now. Pay close attention to their mail delivery so you don’t inadvertently throw out the IRS envelope.
Which days are stimulus/EIP payments made and when will they be in my bank account?
The above table shows the date payments are issued by the IRS. It generally takes 2 to 5 business days after the start/issue date for the payment to hit your bank account (and 1 to 2 weeks for checks or debit cards). So for example in Batch 6, the IRS announced that Friday, April 16 was the start date for processing but that the official payment date was Wednesday, April 21.
However many people have received direct deposit payments in their accounts earlier than the payment date, which would show as provisional or pending deposits. Based on the pattern of past batches stimulus payments are generally hitting most bank accounts on a Monday or Tuesday.
Plus up Payments (not a fourth stimulus check) for those with updated information or missing stimulus checks
IRS EIP/stimulus payments now (since batch 3) include ongoing supplemental payments for people who earlier in March received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns (see refund schedule). These “plus-up” payments could include a situation where a person’s income dropped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent on their 2020 tax return, and other situations.
Millions of “catch-up” or “plus-up” payments have also now been issued to individuals for whom the IRS previously did not have information to issue a Stimulus (Economic Impact) payment but who recently filed a 2020 tax return.
Stimulus Payments for Non-Filers and Dependent and Payment Information Updates
For Non-filers who haven’t filed a recent tax return, the IRS is working with relevant federal and state agencies (e.g. SSA for Social Security recipients) to get the latest payment and dependent data. There is also talk of a new non-filer tool the IRS would roll out to allow payment and dependent detail updates for this payment.
This would also allow updates to flow through for the other expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) stimulus payments in the ARP package. Or else the IRS will use payment and dependent details based on previous stimulus payments.
Where are stimulus checks for Veterans, Social Security Recipients, SSI and SSDI
The IRS is also now processing third stimulus check payments for this group of recipients and their dependents, following several weeks of delays. This was mainly attributed to in getting updated payment and dependent data from other federal agencies (e.g. SSA). The majority of SSI and SSDI recipients should have now started seeing stimulus (EIP) payments hitting bank accounts, with mailed checks and debit cards arriving in the coming weeks. But it would not surprise me if their newly eligible dependent payments take even longer to get paid out.
For those Social Security and other federal beneficiaries (SSDI, SSDI and RRB) who didn’t file a 2020 or 2019 tax return and didn’t use the Non-Filers tool last year, payments will start as part of batch 3 and 4 processing (see table above). The IRS is also making stimulus payments for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit recipients with the GMP tool now showing payment status’ for this group of recipients.
Mailed Paper Checks or Debit Cards
The form of payment for the third stimulus may be different than the first or second one. Some people who received a paper check last time might receive a prepaid debit card this time, and some people who received a prepaid debit card last time may receive a paper check. The IRS has emphasized the payments are automatic, and they should not contact their financial institutions or the IRS with payment timing questions, unless after the first round (normal) processing is complete.
Also note, third stimulus check payments will not be added to an existing debit card that was mailed for the first or second round of stimulus payments. Under the legislation a new card must be issued.
Can my Stimulus payment be garnished?
Like the last stimulus check payments the third stimulus check cannot be offset to pay various past-due federal debts or back taxes. This does not apply to child support payments that are in arrears. If you’re behind on child support your stimulus check can be fully or partially garnished either won’t get a stimulus check or will receive a reduced one.
Note, if you claim your stimulus check via your 2021 tax return, it will be paid via your refund and subject to broader offsets.
Will I Be Able to Call the IRS with Issues?
You will need to wait for the IRS to finish normal processing of the recovery rebate payments (4 to 6 weeks, including mailed checks). Until then you will have to rely on the Get My Payment (GMP) IRS tool to track the status of your payment. And given the IRS will be closing out 2021 tax season and refund processing, I expect will be very challenging to get through to an IRS agent to speak about your missing or delayed payment.
How come my payment is showing up early or in provisional status?
This is normal given that the processing/start date of the given payment batch and payment could be a few days apart. Generally the payment date is 5 days after the processing date, so the payment is classified as provisional until the official payment date. That is why many eligible recipients see the direct deposit stimulus payments as pending or as provisional payments in their accounts before the official payment date.
4th Stimulus Check Direct Deposit Date
At this stage there is not formal date or funding for a fourth stimulus check, but if economic growth slows or the Delta Coronavirus strain spreads more than expected, then it would not surprise me to see another stimulus payment around Thanksgiving 2021. I’ll monitor updates and post if more news comes to hand.
You can stay connected via the subscription options below. Also please review the many comments at the end of this article for tips and FAQs around the stimulus payments.
Second Stimulus Check (approved Dec 2020)
[Updated with latest payment status] With approval of the COVID-19 (Stimulus) Relief bill, Congress has funded another $600 stimulus check for adults ($1200 for a couple) and $600 for Child Dependents. Payment for these checks per the IRS is starts on December 30th and will start hitting millions of American’s accounts before the New Year. If you’re eligible to receive the stimulus payment via electronic direct deposit it will be automatically deposited directly into the same account used when you filed your 2019 tax return and/or the account number used in the previous stimulus payment program. The payment will appear in your account summary as “IRS TREAS 310 XXTAXEIP2” or something similar. You can also check the IRS site for the latest status of your payment.
[IRS update – Jan 15th] The IRS has nearly completed depositing the second stimulus check payments that were sent out by direct deposit. They are now processing stimulus payments that were known to have errors (like incorrect bank accounts) or had widespread issues. As a result millions of taxpayers will receive their second Economic Impact Payments by debit card. These prepaid debit cards are faster and more secure than checks, and can easily converted to cash. People can check the status of both their first and second payments by using the IRS’ Get My Payment tool, which will show the mailing date for these debit cards.IRS News Release
The form of payment for the second mailed EIP may be different than the first mailed EIP. Some people who received a paper check last time might receive a prepaid debit card this time, and some people who received a prepaid debit card last time may receive a paper check. The IRS has emphasized the payments are automatic, and they should not contact their financial institutions or the IRS with payment timing questions.
All Stimulus Checks Must be Paid by January 15th, 2021
Based on the language in the approved legislation all stimulus payments must be made by January 15th, 2021. While the IRS has extended payment dates for exception situations/groups (e.g for non-filers or late child dependent payments) per the first stimulus payment, they have advised that if you don’t receive your second stimulus payment by January 15th then the most efficient way to get your money would be to claim it when you file your federal tax returns in 2021 as a IRS’ Recovery Rebate Credit. Major software packages like Turbo Tax, HR Block and Tax Act will all have an option for this with your 2020-2021 tax filing which you can do now. You’ll also be able to use your 2020 tax return to claim any money the IRS still owes you from the first round of stimulus checks.
Claiming Your Stimulus Check (EIP) in your 2020 tax return
Eligible individuals who did not receive an Economic Impact Payment this year – either the first or the second payment due to a myriad of possible reasons – will be able to claim it when they file their 2020 taxes in 2021. People will see the Economic Impact Payments (EIP) referred to as the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR since the EIPs are an advance payment of the RRC.
If you did not give the IRS your direct deposit account information through your federal tax return in the last two years, and have not provided the IRS with your information as a non-filer, you will likely receive a US Treasury check or debit card in some circumstances. The check will be mailed to the address on file at the IRS from the prior year tax return. It could take 5 to 6 weeks to get the check via mail.
First 2020 Stimulus Check Payment Schedule
The IRS has issued the majority of stimulus check (economic impact payments) that were due to be paid via direct deposit. They are now mailing checks to those who didn’t have or provide banking details, or where issues were identified when paying the stimulus check electronically. The following is the planned weekly stimulus check mailing schedule based on annual adjusted gross income, as first reported by The Washington Post. All dates represent the “week ending” (for example, the week ending April 24) and the IRS could change this schedule at any time.
- Less than $10,000: April 24
- $10,001 – $20,000: May 1
- $20,001 – $30,000: May 8
- $30,001 – $40,000: May 15
- $40,001 – $50,000: May 22
- $50,001 – $60,000: May 29
- $60,001 – $70,000: June 5
- $70,001 – $80,000: June 12
- $80,001 – $90,000: June 19
- $90,001 – $100,000: June 26
- $100,001 – $110,000: July 3
- $110,001 – $120,000: July 10
- $120,001 – $130,000: July 17
- $130,001- $140,000: July 24
- $140,001 – $150,000: July 31
- $150,001 – $160,000: August 7
- $160,001 – $170,000: August 14
- $170,001 – $180,000: August 21
- $180,001 – $190,000: August 28
- $190,001 – $198,000: September 4
- Remaining checks: September 11
The IRS has confirmed that the distribution of economic impact payments (stimulus checks) has begun. Payments for most working Americans are have been calculated and deposited or mailed via check based on 2018 or 2019 federal tax filing payment details. Check payments may take a week or two more. The IRS has also launching several tools to help people track their stimulus check payment and/or update direct deposit details. See FAQs and further updates below.
For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed. So if your 2018 information is out of date or your income situation changed in 2019, make sure you file, even if you have no taxes due (start filing for free with TurboTax).
SSDI beneficiaries will automatically get the $1,200 (or $2400 a couple) payment from April 17th based on their payment information with the Social Security administration, unlike other workers who have to have a recent tax filing to get the stimulus payment.
Where is my stimulus check payment? The IRS has launched new tools to allow eligible Americans to register and track their stimulus checks payments. The enter my payment info tool located on the IRS.gov website will also allow taxpayers who didn’t have to file tax return in 2018 or 2019 to update their banking information on their return to submit direct deposit information as to ensure they get their payments sooner.
Stimulus Check Payout Schedule
- Direct Deposit payments will generally be deposited 2 to 3 days after the IRS confirms income eligibility for the payout.
- Physical checks will take at least 6 to 8 weeks to be mailed out.
Social Security and Disability recipients who are eligible for the payment will get the stimulus checks/payments deposited the same way they currently get payments today. SSDI will automatically get a check based on the 1099 they get and do not need to do anything.
Can my stimulus check be garnished?
The CARES act has provisions to ensure the stimulus check payment cannot be garnished for overdue loans or back taxes (which is not the case for tax refunds), but this does not apply to child support payments that are in arrears. If you’re behind on child support your stimulus check can be fully or partially garnished either won’t get a stimulus check or will receive a reduced one.
Couples who file jointly and are eligible for the $2400 payment may also see smaller stimulus checks where one spouse has overdue child support from a previous relationship or marriage. Even if your spouse is solely responsible for the arrears or overdue payment, the shared stimulus check will likely be garnished.
Note there are some private debt collectors that are saying that stimulus payments can be intercepted to cover their overdue loan payments based on some vague wording the CARES act. However Congress and State legislatures are working to close this loophole.
Given over 120 million Americans could be eligible for the payment, it will take a while to process the stimulus checks. The IRS has reiterated that they will post the latest information on their website and that trying to call them (if you can get through) won’t get you anymore information.
I will however try and find more details and as always please share your thoughts or tips on this topic.