Americans attempting to track their coronavirus stimulus check on the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) "Get My Payment" tool may still be encountering that pesky "Payment Status Not Available" error message, but there are a few hacks to get around it. Ever since the IRS launched the tool back in mid-April, hundreds of people have reported encountering the error message, with social media quick to share how their tricks to successfully using the tool.
The message, encountered as people attempt to track their payment or try to log on to provide their banking information, explains that "according to information that we have on file, we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time" and directs those encountering the message to visit the IRS FAQ page. That FAQ page lists a number of reasons one may encounter the message, though many have reported that none of the scenarios apply to them, instead suggesting that the tool may have some faults.
Thankfully, there are a few ways to combat the dreaded error message. Forbes compiled a list of nine easy measures you can take that have the potential to circumvent the error and get you the information that you need about your stimulus check. Keep scrolling to see some of the suggested hacks.
As a first resort, and the easier "hack," simply try using the tool again. While dozens of people reported encountering the error message multiple times when the tool first launched, the IRS later announced that it had made "significant enhancements" to the tool, meaning that all you may have to do is give it another try.
"We delivered Get My Payment with new capabilities that did not exist during any similar relief program, including the ability to receive direct deposit information that accelerates payments to millions of people. These further enhancements will help even more taxpayers. We urge people who haven't received a payment date yet to visit Get My Payment again for the latest information. IRS teams worked long hours to deliver Get My Payment in record time, and we will continue to make improvements to help Americans," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. "We encourage people to check back in and visit Get My Payment. These enhancements will help many taxpayers. By using Get My Payment now, more people will be able to get payments quickly by being able to add direct deposit information."
Try a Different Browser
As with many errors, simply switching browsers could be the easiest way to solve it. While there currently isn’t an explanation for this particular hack, Forbes reports that there have been several reported instances where people have changed from one browser to another and avoided the "Payment Status Not Available" message. Updating from an older version of a website to the newest version may also help.
Try Using All Caps
One of the first work arounds that appeared online was the all caps hack. On April 27, more than a week after the tool launched, one Twitter user reported that "after a couple of weeks of getting" the error message, they tried "entering my street address in ALL CAPS and it *worked*." A Fortune reporter who had also been encountering the error had the same success when utilizing this task, which may all boil down to the programming language the IRS uses.
Speaking to Mashable, one independent programmer said that typing in all caps is "a very common bug in systems that haven't been thoroughly tested." Two other independent programmers confirmed that switching from lowercase to uppercase letters could make a difference.
Look at Your Tax Return
Forbes, citing several more social media users, also suggests typing your address exactly as it appears on your tax return, which led to success for many. Sharing a list of suggested hacks, Los Angeles Times reporter Jessica Roy quoted one person who said, "on my address I was putting Center St and my return simply showed CENTER. Used all caps and no St, and boom! Good to go!"
Use the Us Postal Service Lookup tool
If you are still having difficulty with the tool, verify your address with the USPS site. There, you can enter your address and copy that directly into the address field in the IRS portal. Such a measure was recommended by congresswoman Susan Wild on her coronavirus FAQ page.
"You may also verify how your address is formatted with the US Postal Service (USPS) by entering your address in the USPS ZIP Lookup tool, and then enter your address into Get My Payment exactly as it appears on file with USPS," the page reads.
Try Variations of Your Address
If all else fails, experiment with variations of your address. Some social media users have reported that entering, for example, "Unit 2" rather than "#2" for their apartment worked. Others have said that abbreviating words like street, avenue, and boulevard also led to success. Some have even said that omitting apartment numbers and only using street numbers did the trick.
Look at Your Punctuation0comments
Several people have found a way around the error message by adding periods at the end of abbreviations. This means that instead of writing "street" or "boulevard," write in all caps, "ST." or "BLVD." That being said, some have recommended leaving the period off of other abbreviations, such as those for the cardinal directions of North, South, East, and West.”
Some people have also discovered that omitting minus signs and parenthesis works. For example, those who have a negative adjusted gross income, which is most prevalent for small business owners, should instead attempt input their 2018 or 2019 adjusted gross income without the minus sign.