By now, anyone still waiting for their first stimulus check will probably have to wait until 2021, according to the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). The IRS has issued about 160 million payments, yet a fair amount of those still need to be sent out. According to a report by Newsweek, experts fear it will take until next year to get the delays sorted out.
The TAS sent a report to the U.S. Congress earlier this month, acknowledging that the IRS has done an "impressive job" sending out so many stimulus checks so quickly. However, it noted that the "most significant provisions" in the CARES Act have had some issues — specifically the persistent delay of some stimulus checks. "Many individuals as of June 3, 2020, for a variety of reasons, have either not received the full [Economic Impact Payment] amount to which they are entitled or received an EIP at all," the report said.
#COVID19 disrupted the tax filing season and continues to impact: tax returns and correspondence received, #IRS phone service and more. Read the Fiscal Year 2021 Objectives Report to Congress to learn of other noted impacts: https://t.co/i3j8pD8Vkv. pic.twitter.com/j4a0mzStMr— Taxpayer Advocate (@YourVoiceAtIRS) June 29, 2020
"In most cases, these individuals will have to wait until 2021 to receive either their EIP or the full amount," the TAS went on. "Because these individuals are likely experiencing financial distress now, the National Taxpayer Advocate recommends the IRS continue to work on solutions and alternatives to ensure that all individuals receive the EIP in its entirety in 2020 rather than having to wait until 2021 when they file their 2020 income tax returns."
The TAS report did not confirm how many people are still waiting on a stimulus check, only hinting that the number was significant. The TAS named its own objective — to "advocate for the IRS to create a process to correct EIP amounts in 2020 rather than requiring taxpayers to wait until they file their 2020 returns in 2021."
The reasons for stimulus check delays range widely, and in some cases are hard to track. Many had their payments deposited into the wrong account and are now experiencing prolonged processing time as they are re-routed to the correct bank, while others have had issues with their mailing address.
A common issue that can result in a long delay at the IRS level is a discrepancy with an individual's dependent status. If an individual claimed themselves as independent in 2019, but their parents or guardians claimed them as dependent in 2018, they will need to wait until the IRS processes their guardians' 2019 taxes for a stimulus check to be issued.
Whatever the case, the TAS argues that the IRS can address many — if not all — of these issues now, to spare taxpayers the prolonged wait for emergency cash. For the latest information on your stimulus check, visit the IRS' Get My Payment website.