An online tool can help tell you when your stimulus money is coming.James Martin/CNET
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You already know that the IRS is sending you a coronavirus stimulus check of up to $1,200. You just don't know when. Turns out, the IRS can help. Its online tool called Get My Payment can show you if your check has been scheduled and point out problems you may need to address before the IRS can process your money.
It can also tell you whether your money will arrive as a paper check, a prepaid debit card or, in some cases, as a direct deposit to your bank account. While some who used the portal when the IRS first opened it, the IRS said it has fixed some common problems.
We'll explain how to use the site, including the details you should have on hand before you begin. For more information about stimulus checks, here's what to do if you think your payment might not arrive at all. Plus, these are the latest details about a second round of stimulus checks and how much money you might get. We update this story often.
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Things to know before you begin with the Get My Payment toolThe tool will ask for your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), your date of birth, your street address and your ZIP or postal code.The IRS is sending payments on a schedule. Think of it as batches of payments that get sent at once, rather than individually. The Get My Payment tool can ballpark your scheduled date.The IRS updates its status tracking information once a day. You should receive a letter about 15 days after the IRS issues your payment, with information on the amount you received and how you received it.
After using the IRS tracker, you could also signing up a free service from your post office that tells you exactly when your stimulus check will arrive in the mail.
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How to track the status and arrival of your stimulus check from the IRS
If you're eligible for a check, the IRS lets you track your payment schedule through its Get My Payment web portal. Some people have reported having trouble using the portal, and the IRS said it has significantly improved the Get My Payment app to help you set up and track the date of your stimulus payment.
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1. Head to the IRS' Get My Payment page and tap the blue Get My Payment button to check the status of your economic impact payment.
2. On the next page about authorized use, tap OK.
3. Now on the Get My Payment page, enter your SSN or ITIN, your date of birth, your street address and your ZIP or postal code. Tap Continue.
On the next page, the portal will show your payment status, whether it's been scheduled or if the service can't yet determine your status.
How do I know if my check is in the mail?
The IRS deadline to set up direct deposit with the government passed on May 13. If you didn't set up your account, you'll most likely get your check in the mail.
While most people will receive a paper check, the Treasury Department said 4 million people will get an Economic Impact Payment, or EIP, prepaid debit card instead (and as of the first week of June, it said these payments have been made). We've asked the US Treasury to clarify who gets a check and who gets a debit card.
How do I know that my status information is accurate and what if I get an error message?
You may see confusing messages when using the status tool -- so much so that the IRS explains common status messages in an FAQ. You may get a message if it's impossible to determine your eligibility, for example, or your payment status is not available. We're looking into it, but so far we've unearthed a handful of reasons why Get My Payment may not be able to track your payment status.
You don't need to sign up to receive stimulus money
Senior citizens, Social Security recipients, railroad retirees and other beneficiaries who typically aren't required to file tax returns will not need to file one to receive a payment.
Again, the agency will mail a letter to a taxpayer's last known address within 15 days after sending the payment. The letter will contain information on when and how the payment was made and how to report to the IRS if you didn't receive your check.