Stimulus Checks: TurboTax Users Blame Simple Error for Never Receiving Relief Payments

Some TurboTax users are blaming a single checked box for not getting their stimulus checks. The issue centered on a box asking software users if their spouse can be claimed as a dependent by someone else and first surfaced in late April. TurboTax owner Intuit confirmed they are in contact with the IRS to fix the issue.

A TurboTax user brought up the issue on the product's support forum on April 24, reports Forbes. The user said they filed "Married Filing Separately" and mistakenly had "Someone can claim: Your Spouse as a Dependent" checked. The user wondered if this was they had not received their Economic Impact Payment deposited into their bank account yet, but their spouse has received the deposit. Two days later, another user reported the same issue but said neither spouses have received their payments.

On June 9, another TurboTax user revived the forum thread, reporting they spoke with the IRS and this checked box was the issue. "I called the IRS today and they informed me this is the reason I have not received a stimulus payment and that I would have to get it on my taxes next year," the forum user wrote. "The box was checked saying my spouse could be claimed as a dependent and I'm not even married."

Intuit later told Forbes there was a "very small number" who had the box automatically checked when carrying over information from their 2018 tax return. Although it did not affect the individual's tax return, it did affect their stimulus check eligibility. A person is ineligible for an EIP if another taxpayer can claim someone as a dependent. This still does not clear up the central mystery in the case though: Why would this checked box asking about the taxpayer's spouse (not themselves) make them ineligible for the payment?

"We are working closely with [the] IRS to understand why and how this would have impacted a taxpayer's eligibility to receive an economic impact payment (EIP). We expect more information will be available in the near future," Intuit told Forbes, adding that the box was checked correctly on the taxpayers' 2018 reports. However, a few people said on the forum they did not check the box. If the IRS does not solve the issue, taxpayers can claim the EIP as part of their 2020 tax returns next year if they are eligible for a payment.