Stimulus Checks: Why the IRS Might Not Know the Status of Your Payout

As U.S. taxpayers continue to get their coronavirus relief stimulus checks, some may find that the IRS might not know the status of their payout. There's no need to panic, however, because there are a number of possibilities for why this happens. The Motley Fool reports that if you are one of the many people who see a "Payment status not available" message when you check the status of your payment, it is likely one of four issues.

The first problem may be that the IRS has not finished processing your tax return. The IRS is using the most recent tax information they have on file for each eligible taxpayer in order to process the payments. For anyone who already filed in 2019, that is the information that will determine the amount received and how it is sent to you. However, for anyone who has not submitted their 2019 tax info, the IRS will use the 2018 info they have on hand. For anyone who may have submitted their taxes late for 2018, that could mean a delay on the processing of the stimulus payment.

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Another reason is that, for non-filers, the IRS may have not finished processing your entry on the form. Anyone who is eligible for the stimulus check but does not have to file taxes, the IRS first has to process the non-filer form that is submitted. Additionally, the "Payment status not available" message could also mean that the IRS is still acquiring data. In some cases, like with Social Security or railroad benefits recipients, the IRS has to get certain information from other government departments in order to process the stimulus payment.

Finally, the last reason someone may not see the "Payment status not available" message is that they are not eligible for the stimulus check. Per the terms of the CARES Act, the majority of taxpaying Americans over 18 will be getting $1,200 each, with parents receiving $500 for each child. However, citizens who make more than $75,000 annually (or $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns), for each $100 above the limit, the stimulus check amount decreases by $5. Individuals who earn $99,000 — and married couples with incomes above $198,000 — annually, will not be receiving payments. The one exception to this is the taxpayers have qualifying dependents, they may be still be eligible to receive the $500 for their children.