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IRS online portal has early glitches


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When you get your stimulus check and how much you get depend on several factors.

USA TODAY

The cash – and the confusion – keeps building as the stimulus checks, known as Economic Impact Payments, roll out this week.

The Internal Revenue Service went live with its “Get My Payment” portal shortly after dawn Wednesday morning. This is the much anticipated tool where you can get information on the status of your federal stimulus payment, as well as provide direct deposit information if the IRS still needs that data from you.

But if my emails from readers early this morning are any indication, there have been a few early glitches in this massive effort. 

“The ‘Get My Refund’ site keeps crashing this morning. … Can’t enter my bank info due to system failure,” said an email from a reader at 10:51 a.m. Wednesday. 

“Just so you know,” according to an email from Joyce McKenna of Washington Township, “I checked the IRS portal regarding my Economic Impact Payment and, after putting in my SS#, DOB, street address and zip code, it stated that I did not qualify for direct deposit, and then asked for my bank info in order to receive it via direct deposit.” 

Yet McKenna found a little more hope after continuing the process. “After putting in info from my 2019 federal tax return and bank info, I received a Bank Account Confirmation stating, ‘You have successfully submitted your bank account information. Your payment will be direct deposited into your bank account using the information you provided.’ ” 

The reader added: “I checked my bank account and it’s not there yet. I’ll let you know when it is.” 

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To be fair here, my morning’s email and texts were filled with news from readers, friends and family members who were happy to report that they did receive their stimulus checks by Wednesday as advertised by the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS.

An initial round of more than 80 million Economic Impact Payments started to hit bank accounts over the weekend and will continue to do so throughout this week, the IRS said. 

The IRS issued this statement Wednesday via email: “Thanks to hard work and long hours by dedicated IRS employees, these payments are going out on schedule, as planned, without delay, to the nation. The IRS employees are delivering these payments in record time compared to previous stimulus efforts.”

When you actually get your money can vary. The first group would include people who have already given their bank account information to the IRS for the direct deposit of tax refunds on 2018 or 2019 returns. 

In addition, Social Security beneficiaries who filed federal tax returns that included direct deposit information would be part of that first group. 

The second wave of money could hit bank accounts as early as the week of April 20, according to earlier reports, for a group of people who receive Social Security benefits via direct deposit but may not have made enough money to be required to file a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019. Most in this group will not need to file any extra forms to receive this money. 

The IRS said Wednesday: “Automatic payments will also go in the near future to those receiving Social Security retirement, or disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits.”

The IRS noted that the new Get My Payment tool will show the projected date when a deposit has been scheduled, similar to the “Where’s My Refund tool” many taxpayers are already familiar with.

“Get My Payment also allows people a chance to provide their bank information,” the IRS said.

“People who did not use direct deposit on their last tax return will be able to input information to receive the payment by direct deposit into their bank account, expediting receipt.”

IRS Commissioner ChIuck Rettig said in a statement: “Get My Payment will offer people with a quick and easy way to find the status of their payment and, where possible, provide their bank account information if we don’t already have it.”

“Our IRS employees have been working nonstop on the Economic Impact Payments to help taxpayers in need. In addition to successfully generating payments to more than 80 million people, IRS teams throughout the country proudly worked long days and weekends to quickly deliver Get My Payment ahead of schedule.”

The IRS is telling consumers that “Get My Payment” is updated once daily, usually overnight. The IRS urges taxpayers to only use Get My Payment once a day given the large number of people receiving Economic Impact Payments.

Here’s how to use Get My Payment: Go online to IRS.gov. The IRS says this online system is safe and secure to use. 

Taxpayers only need a few pieces of information to quickly obtain the status of their payment and, where needed, provide their bank account information. Having a copy of their most recent tax return can help speed the process.

If you want to track the status of your payment, the IRS site will show the payment amount, scheduled delivery date by direct deposit or paper check and if a payment hasn’t been scheduled. A taxpayer will need to enter basic information including Social Security number, date of birth and the mailing address used on their tax return.

If you want to add your bank account information to speed up your stimulus payment, you need to provide your adjusted gross income from your most recent tax return submitted, either 2019 or 2018. And you need to know the refund or amount owed from your latest filed tax return. You are also going to need information about your bank account type, account and routing numbers.

The IRS added this information Wednesday: “Get My Payment cannot update bank account information after an Economic Impact Payment has been scheduled for delivery. To help protect against potential fraud, the tool also does not allow people to change bank account information already on file with the IRS.” 

The IRS also has a separate online tool for people who don’t normally file tax returns. The Non-filers: Enter Payment Info tool, developed in a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, is designed for people who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and who don’t receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits. Additional information is available at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here.

Contact Susan Tompor via stompor@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @tompor. Read more on business and sign up for our business newsletter.

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