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By Claire Hegstrom
Tax Day looked a little different this year, as news spread that the IRS would start distributions of the stimulus checks promised by the CARES Act relief program. Individuals making less than $99,000 a year, and joint tax filers making less than $198,000, all logged on to their banking apps to see if the check had hit their accounts. If you are expecting to receive a stimulus check and haven’t yet, read on to learn what you can do to ensure the arrival of your payment.
The IRS has tried to make this simple for those juggling many aspects of life right now. Most people eligible to receive the stimulus money will have funds deposited directly into their account. If you’ve heard that family members and friends have received their money and you haven’t yet, don't panic. Keep in mind that the IRS is scheduled to release direct deposits over a two-week timeframe, and paper check payments in waves, every week, for the next eight weeks.
Those who filed 2018 or 2019 federal income taxes or receive Social Security benefits: The IRS will pull your deposit account information from the most recent taxes you’ve filed, or from your account number linked to Social Security payments.
Those who haven’t filed in two years or can’t remember which account is linked for refunds: You can simply send the IRS your account information on the secure site they specifically created for the CARES Act stimulus checks. Visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments to update your financial institution information and home address on the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info form.
If you do not have a bank account linked to the IRS for taxes or Social Security: You may receive a check in the mail. If you have an account or new address where you’d like your stimulus check sent, visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments to input your information into the Get My Payment form on the IRS secure site. This is the only site approved by the IRS, and the only way they will attempt to collect your information. There have been multiple scams brewing in light of this stimulus package news, so please stay alert and cautious to protect yourself and your finances.
During this pandemic, the safest way to deposit your check is by using the remote deposit feature on your credit union or bank’s online or mobile application. You can also use deposit-taking ATMs at your financial institution to securely deposit the check.
Pro tip: For mobile check deposit, make sure to endorse the check with “For mobile deposit only at financial institution name” directly under your signature to ensure a seamless experience.
For those who receive a check made out to you and a joint filer, make sure to endorse the check with both of your names and deposit it into an account you hold jointly. Checks from the government written to two parties can’t be deposited into a single owner’s account.
If you closed the account that your last tax refund was sent to and didn’t get a chance to update your info in time, your stimulus payment will be returned to the IRS. Have no fear, all is not lost! Because credit unions and banks can’t keep funds floating in the nebula, your payment will be bounced back to the IRS, and they will cut a paper check to be mailed to your home. Many Americans have discovered their funds were sent to incorrect accounts while checking the status of their stimulus payment at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment. Here, you can see if ̶ and into which account ̶ your check has been deposited.
The Alliant Money Mentor will continue to share updates regarding stimulus payments and other important financial information related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Claire Hegstrom is an advocate of the credit union movement through and through. Passionate about financial education, she approaches money conversations from a candid and inclusive space focused on growth and awareness. As our credit union founding father, Ed Filene, once said, “Progress is the constant replacing of the best there is with something still better.” Claire hopes reading Money Mentor will help transform your life from the best to even better.
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