The IRS has already started sending out third stimulus checks. If you’re asking yourself “where’s my stimulus check,” the IRS has an online portal that lets you track your payment. It’s called the “Get My Payment” tool, and it’s an updated version of the popular tool Americans used to track the status of their first- and second-round stimulus checks. (To find out how much money you will get, use our Third Stimulus Check Calculator.)
Note that you can’t check the status of your first- or second-round stimulus payments with the updated tool. If you didn’t get an earlier payment, or your received less than the full amount, you might be able to get what you’re owed by claiming the Recovery Rebate credit on your 2020 tax return. (You can file a return just to claim the credit even if you aren’t required to file.) Third-round stimulus payments aren’t used to calculate the 2020 Recovery Rebate credit, but they will be used to figure the credit amount on your 2021 tax return.
The updated “Get My Payment” tool more-or-less works the same way as the portal used for first- and second-round stimulus checks. But here’s a refresher course on what the tool does, what information you need to provide, and what information the tool gives you. Check it out now so you know what to expect before entering the portal at on the IRS’s website.
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What Does the Stimulus Check Portal Do?
The updated “Get My Payment” tool lets you:
- Check the status of your stimulus payment;
- Confirm your payment type (paper check or direct deposit); and
- Get a projected direct deposit or paper check delivery date (or find out if a payment hasn’t been scheduled).
For first-round stimulus payments, you could also use the portal to enter or change your bank account information to have your payment directly deposited into your account. However, that feature isn’t included in the current tool (nor was it offered for second-round payments). The IRS already has bank account information for millions of Americans from recent tax returns, tax payments, the original “Get My Payment” tool, the non-filers tool used last year, and other federal agencies that regularly send out benefit payments (e.g., Social Security Administration, Railroad Retirement Board and Department of Veterans Affairs). So, the tax agency is generally limiting direct deposit payments to bank accounts that they already have on file. As a result, you can’t change your bank information using the “Get My Payment” tool. (And don’t call the IRS, the person on the phone won’t be able to change your bank information, either.)
If your payment isn’t deposited directly into your bank account, then you’ll get either a paper check or a debit card in the mail (assuming you’re eligible for a payment). You could also receive a payment by mail if your bank rejected a direct deposit. This could happen because the bank information was incorrect or the bank account on file with the IRS has since been closed.
If a third-stimulus payment is mailed to you, but the Post Office is unable to deliver it and returns it to the IRS, you may be able to use the “Get My Payment” tool to send the IRS your bank account information to have your payment reissued as a direct deposit. In this case, the portal will say “Need More Information” about two to three weeks after the original payment was issued. At this point, you can enter a routing and account number for your bank account, prepaid debit card or alternative financial product that has a routing and account number associated with it. If you don’t provide account information, your payment will be reissued by mail when the IRS receives an updated address.
What Information Will You Need?
To access the tool, you’ll be asked to provide a:
- Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN);
- Date of birth;
- Street address; and
- Five-digit ZIP or postal code.
If you file a joint tax return, either spouse can access the portal by providing their own information for the security questions used to verify a taxpayer’s identity. Once verified, the same payment status is shown for both spouses.
If you submit information that doesn’t match the IRS’s records three times within a 24-hour period, you’ll be locked out of the portal for 24 hours (expect a “Please Try Again Later” message). You’ll also be locked out if you’ve already accessed the system five times within a 24-hour period. (The IRS is limiting each user’s daily access to manage system capacity.) Don’t contact the IRS if you’re shut out. Instead, just wait 24 hours and try again.
What Will the Status Report Look Like?
For third-round stimulus checks, the “Get My Payment” tool will display one of the following:
1. Payment Status. If you get this message, a payment has been issued. The status page will show a payment date and payment method (direct deposit or mail). Note that “mail” means either a paper check or a debit card.
2. Need More Information. This message is displayed if your payment was returned to the IRS by the Post Office as undeliverable. As mentioned above, you’ll have the opportunity to provide the IRS your bank account or debit card information so they can issue a direct deposit payment. If you don’t provide any account information, the IRS can’t reissue your payment until they receive an updated address. (The fastest and easiest way to update your address with the IRS is to electronically file your 2020 tax return with your current address.)
3. Payment Status Not Available. This means either the IRS hasn’t processed your payment yet, the IRS doesn’t have enough information to issue you a payment, or you’re not eligible for a payment. The IRS will continue to send third-round stimulus payments to eligible Americans throughout 2021, so continue to check the portal for updates on your payment status.
The portal is updated no more than once daily, typically overnight. As a result, there’s no reason to check the portal more than once per day.
Can You Use the Portal if You Didn’t File a Tax Return?
You couldn’t use the “Get My Payment” tool to track the status of your first stimulus check if you didn’t file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return. However, there was another online tool that non-filers could use to give the IRS with the information it needed to process a payment.
The non-filers tool wasn’t used for second stimulus checks, though. Instead, if you didn’t file a 2019 tax return, and you didn’t use the non-filers tool to get your first-round payment, then you have to wait to claim your second stimulus check money as a Recovery Rebate credit on your 2020 return.
The IRS is not using the non-filers tool for third-round stimulus checks, either. As a result, if you don’t file a 2019 or 2020 tax return, you’ll have to claim any money you’re owed as a Recovery Rebate credit on your 2021 return, which you won’t file until next year.
Note, however, that people who receive Social Security, veterans, or other federal benefits who don’t usually file a tax return can use the “Get My Payment” tool to check their payment status for their own payment when it’s been issued. Also, if you didn’t file a tax return, you receive federal benefits, and your benefits are currently deposited to a debit card, then your third stimulus check will be deposited to that card. The bank information shown in the “Get My Payment” tool will be a number associated with your debit card and may be a number you don’t recognize.