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Coronavirus stimulus checks: Here's why you can't find out your payment status

Many Americans who are eager to know when their stimulus payment is coming can track it through the Internal Revenue Service’s ‘Get My Payment’ tool. But for many, the tool hasn’t provided the needed information and, instead, caused confusion.

The new tool allows Americans to follow the scheduled payment date for either a direct deposit or mailed check. It’s an online app that works on desktops, phones, or tablets and doesn’t need to be downloaded from an app store, according to the Treasury Department.

When the tool launched, numerous complaints popped up of people receiving a message that said their payment status was not available. This was because the system was overloaded, but that reportedly has been fixed.

But the IRS and the Treasury announced “significant enhancements” to the tool on April 26, which will “deliver an improved and smoother experience.”

“We encourage people to check back in and visit Get My Payment,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “These enhancements will help many taxpayers. By using Get My Payment now, more people will be able to get payments quickly by being able to add direct deposit information.”

However, there may be still a few instances where the tool won’t be able to check the status of your payment and you’ll see this message legitimately. You will likely need to take additional steps. Here’s what you need to know.

The newly launched ‘Get My Payment App’ wasn't been working for some people on the day of the launch, who received a “Payment Status Not Available” response and were unable to track their payment. Photo: Cashay

How to use the tool?

In order to use the tool and track your payment, you need to provide basic information:

  • Social Security number

  • Date of birth

  • Mailing address

If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 but didn’t provide direct deposit information, you’ll be able to identify yourself, input that banking information, and receive your stimulus payment by deposit rather than mail, which is faster.

To add direct deposit information, you will need to provide:

  • Adjusted gross income from your most recent tax return submitted, either 2019 or 2018

  • The refund or amount owed from your latest filed tax return

  • Bank account type, account, and routing numbers

‘Payment Status Not Available’

If you receive the message “Payment Status Not Available,” you may ineligible for the stimulus payment. But not always, you may also get that message if but there are a few more instances where you cand get it too, according to the IRS:

  • You are required to file taxes and haven’t filed in tax year 2018 or 2019.

  • You are required to file a tax return, but the IRS hasn’t finished processing your 2019 return.

  • You recently provided information through the ‘Non-Filers’ app and it hasn’t been processed yet.

  • You are an SSA or RRB Form 1099 recipient, SSI or VA benefit recipient.

You also may not be able to track your payment if it’s in the first stage of the payment distribution and the information has not yet been processed. The IRS updates the ‘Get My Payment’ once a day, so checking once a day is enough to see if there have been updates on your case.

‘Need More Information’

The 2008 economic stimulus checks are printed at the Kansas City Regional Financial Center in Kansas City, Missouri, May 8, 2008. REUTERS/Dave Kaup (UNITED STATES)
The 2008 economic stimulus checks are printed at the Kansas City Regional Financial Center in Kansas City, Missouri, May 8, 2008. REUTERS/Dave Kaup (UNITED STATES)

Many Americans may receive a “Need More Information” message, which means you are eligible for the stimulus payment, but the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information on file.

Those who’d like to provide that information and get the payment faster will be able to provide the bank information once they have properly verified their identity.

‘Please Try Again Later’

If you fail to verify your identity using the tool you may be locked out and unable to check your status in the next 24 hours for security reasons, according to the IRS. The IRS said there’s no need to contact the agency if this happens. Instead, try using the tool the next day.

Denitsa is a reporter for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova.

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