IRS sending $600 stimulus checks now. Here’s when yours will arrive – CNET

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Timing is critical in delivering a second stimulus check to as many as 160 million Americans.


Sarah Tew/CNET

On Tuesday, the IRS began sending second stimulus checks straight to bank accounts via direct deposit and on Wednesday in the mail as paper checks and prepaid debit cards. Some who are eligible are already reporting they’ve received the money in their bank accounts.

The Treasury Department and the IRS began making the payments less than two days after President Donald Trump on Sunday authorized the second direct payments for up to $600 per person when he signed the COVID-19 relief bill.

On Twitter, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed the direct-deposit schedule. “These payments may begin to arrive in some accounts by direct deposit as early as [Tuesday] and will continue into next week,” Mnuchin tweeted Tuesday afternoon. In a second tweet, Mnuchin said the IRS would start sending checks and EIP debit cards through the mail on Wednesday. The IRS is on a tight schedule for making payments and needs to conclude sending stimulus checks in January.

(We have a stimulus check calculator you can use to get a personalized estimate for your stimulus payment. If you’re curious, here’s what could happen with a third stimulus check in 2021.)

If you meet the requirements for a payment, here’s when you should start looking for a second stimulus check, and how you can check on the status of your second payment. This story was recently updated.

Direct deposit payments start arriving in bank account Tuesday night

On Tuesday, the IRS announced it had started making its initial direct deposit payments to bank accounts, with payments continuing into next week. The IRS said eligible individuals do not need to take any action to receive this second payment and it will use the direct deposit information it has on file to make the payment.

The IRS cautioned that some “may see the direct deposit payments as pending or as provisional payments in their accounts before the official payment date of January 4, 2021.”

Stimulus checks and debit cards went out in the mail starting Wednesday

The IRS said for those it doesn’t have current direct deposit information on file for, it will send the payment as a check or EIP debit card in the mail. Those payments started going out Wednesday, Dec. 30, the IRS said. 

How to check the status of your stimulus payment

The IRS said it is updating its Get My Payment tool for the second round of payments and anticipates those who qualify for a check will be able to see the status of both the first and second payments in a few days, after the portal is updated. The Get My Payment portal is available in English and Spanish.

What about prepaid debit cards?

The IRS said that to speed delivery of the payments, it will send make some payments using an Economic Impact Payment prepaid debit card and notes that some people who received a paper check last time might receive a debit card this time, and some people who received a debit card last time may receive a paper check.

The IRS warns that those who are eligible but don’t receive a direct deposit should watch their mail for a check or EIP debit card. The debit cards will arrive in a white envelope that displays the US Department of the Treasury seal, the IRS said.

Why is Jan. 15, 2021, an important date to know?

Jan. 15 is the cutoff date in the $900 billion stimulus bill; after the middle of January, the IRS and US Treasury must stop sending payments. If you don’t receive your full second stimulus check money by Jan. 15, you will need to claim all or part of the missing amount you qualify for when you file your federal tax returns in 2021 through the Recovery Rebate Credit. You’ll also be able to claim any money the IRS still owes you from the first round of payments.

People who receive their stimulus payment through direct deposit are less likely to be affected. But there is potentially a distinct disadvantage for people who don’t have direct deposit set up with the IRS.

Tying the delivery of a second stimulus check to the 2020 tax return will almost certainly delay delivery for many people, since a wide variance in circumstances will cause some people to file taxes as early as January and others as late as April 15, or even later if they need to request an extension. It also isn’t clear how quickly the IRS would process the payments.


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Second stimulus checks: Everything you need to know

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The IRS said if Congress does approve raising the $600 check amount to $2,000 this week, it will issue the bonus amount “as quickly as possible.”

In the chart below, we map out the payment schedule for the second round of checks, plus a projection if Congress approves a third stimulus check next year, after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.

Possible dates a second and third stimulus check could go out

Dates for second check Dates for possible third check?
House passes final bill Dec. 21 April 5
Senate passes final bill Dec. 21 April 6
President signs Dec. 27 April 7
First direct deposits issued Dec. 29 Week of April 12
First paper checks sent Dec. 30 Week of April 12
First EIP cards sent Dec. 30 Week of April 12
Recovery Rebate Credit After filing 2020 tax returns Unknown

How long could it take to get your second stimulus check through the mail?

Since the new stimulus bill sets a Jan. 15 deadline for the IRS to send out payments, people who will receive their second stimulus check in the mail — either as a paper check or a prepaid debit card — should look for a payment starting now through the first weeks of January, according to the IRS. According to the Treasury, 22% of the payments as of last summer were made by paper checks and another 3% by prepaid debit cards

However, after Jan. 15, you will have to claim any money the IRS owes you with your tax filing in 2021. That could further delay your stimulus check, since the timing would hinge on:

  • When you file your 2020 taxes — the deadline could be April 15, unless you file for an extension.
  • How long it takes the IRS to process your tax return, which may also include your second stimulus check.
  • If there are any complications that arise in your specific scenario that could further delay your check.

We’ll keep our eye on the situation, which is constantly evolving. Here are the latest second stimulus check updates and here’s how you can calculate your estimated total now for a $600 per person maximum.

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