is upon us, and with it a chance to . If your never arrived, you aren’t alone: Millions of people are that have prevented their check from arriving. While most of these people will be able to claim that missing money as a (even ), in certain cases, you may need to contact the IRS and request something called a Payment Trace to track down your missing funds.
The first step to determine which course you should take is to check the. Depending on what it tells you, you may need to go on to request a Payment Trace. (You can use our you should have received.)
Here’s everything you need to know about what an IRS Payment Trace is, the two situations in which you may need to request one instead of a Recovery Rebate Credit, and how to get it started. We’ve also got stimulus payment guides for, , , and . Plus, here’s what we know so far about a , including the latest drama with the , and . This story was recently updated.
Case 1: The IRS online app says the agency sent your money, but you never received it
If your Get My Payment to find out its status. We have full instructions on . You’ll need to plug in your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, date of birth, street address and ZIP or postal code.is missing, you should first go to the free IRS online payment tracking tool called
The portal will show your payment status, if your money has been scheduled to send, and the payment method (or ) and date. You might also see a different message or an error. (By the way, here’s why you might want to if you haven’t already.)
You’ll need to request a Payment Trace if the Get May Payment portal shows that your payment was issued, but you haven’t received it within these timeframes:
- 5 days since the deposit date in Get my Payment and your bank says they haven’t received it.
- 4 weeks since it was mailed by check to a standard address for the first check; after Feb. 24 for the second check.
- 6 weeks since it was mailed and you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office for the first check; March 10 for the second check.
- 9 weeks since it was mailed and you have a foreign address for the first check; March 31 for the second check.
Case 2: The IRS sent a letter verifying that your payment was sent, but the money never arrived
About 15 days after the IRS sends your second stimulus check (by either, or ), you should get confirming your payment and giving you a way to get in touch to report any problems. If you received this letter — also called Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment — but you never received your payment, you’ll need to request a Payment Trace. Make sure you keep the letter — you’ll need the information to file your claim. (Here’s what to do if you .)
How to request a payment trace with the IRS
To request a Payment Trace, call the IRS at 800-919-9835 or mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund. (Note that if you call the number, you’ll have to listen through the recorded content before you can connect with an agent.) Find out where to mail or fax that form for your state on the IRS website.
To complete Form 3911, the IRS provides the following instructions:
- Write “EIP” on the top of the form (EIP stands for Economic Impact Payment)
- Complete the form answering all refund questions as they relate to your payment
- When completing item 7 under Section 1:
- Check the box for “Individual” as the Type of return.
- Enter “2020” as the Tax Period.
- Do not write anything for the Date Filed.
- Sign the form. If you’re married and filing together, both spouses must sign the form.
You should not mail Form 3911 if you’ve already requested a trace by phone. And you should not request a Payment Trace to determine if you were, or to , the IRS said.
How does the IRS process Payment Trace claims?
The IRS will do the following to process your claim, according to its website:
- If you didn’t cash the check, the IRS will issue a replacement. If you discover the original check among your belongings, you’re expected to return it as soon as possible.
- If you did cash the refund check, expect a claim package from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, which will include a copy of the cashed check. Then, follow the included instructions. The Bureau will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before deciding if they’ll issue a replacement. This is presumably to guard against .
When can you expect to get your missing stimulus payment?
You should get a response from the IRS about six weeks after the agency receives your request for a Payment Trace, according to its website. However, this could be delayed due to limited staffing.
For more on stimulus checks, check out all the, and .