Stimulus Check: How the IRS Could Accelerate the Process of Issuing Payments

There still is no passed legislation that includes a second stimulus check, eight months after the CARES Act was passed. When or if Congress does pass a new coronavirus relief package and if it consists of another economic impact payment program, the Internal Revenue Service could hopefully get those checks out even faster than they did the first time. Since the IRS fixed several kinks in the system already, it might take only a week or so to get the first round of direct payments out.

Back in August, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it could take about a week to get the first payments out. "I can get out 50 million payments really quickly. A lot of it into people's direct accounts," Manchin told reporters in early August. As CNET notes, Americans began receiving their EIPs from the CARES Act just 19 days after it was signed into law. The first people who received the payments were taxpayers who provided the IRS direct deposit information when filing their taxes.

If the IRS did not have direct deposit information, it took longer for taxpayers to receive the physical checks in the mail. About 4 million Americans received their payments as prepaid Visa cards, and these were not sent out until mid-May. Some people who received their checks after June or are even still waiting on theirs may have missed filling out documents on the IRS website. About 9 million people who do not normally file taxes have only until Oct. 15 to claim them. The IRS is now sending letters to these Americans with steps on how to claim the payments.

Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi resumed talks last week, and the House passed another $2 trillion package that would include another stimulus check. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said the Senate will not pass anything more than $1 trillion, even though Mnuchin offered a $1.6 trillion package. Even if a miraculous agreement is reached this week, it is difficult to predict when votes would be scheduled. Since several Republican Senators have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Senate is not expected to return until Oct. 19. While this may delay stimulus legislation, it will not delay the confirmation of Supreme Court justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

If the House passes a stimulus package agreed upon by both sides by Oct. 19, the Senate could vote on it the next day. If President Donald Trump can, he could sign it into law on Oct. 21, and the first direct deposit payments could be sent by the week of Oct. 26, notes CNET. But if that does not happen, it's likely another package could not be passed until early December, when the House and Senate return after the election.