BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — On Wednesday, people across the country opened their bank accounts to find an extra $1,200 deposited. For those who didn't see a deposit, they were directed to the Internal Revenue Service's 'Get My Payment' app to see when they could expect a stimulus payment.
But for some, when they logged on they saw a message saying 'Payment Status Not Available'.
The IRS released statements Wednesday and Thursday addressing the stimulus payments, but the statements leave people still wondering where their payment is. According to one statement, the IRS said that the Get My Payment tool was working "smoothly and effectively". As of Wednesday mid-day, the IRS said more than 6.2 million taxpayers have successfully received their payment status and almost 1.1 million taxpayers have successfully provided banking information.
Other taxpayers were notified that their stimulus payment was deposited, but when they checked, they found the payment was deposited into an old account.
According to the IRS's “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) page, " If the bank account is closed, the bank will reject the deposit and you will be issued your payment to the address we have on file for you. If our Get My Payment application indicates your payment has been processed, you cannot change your bank account information."
However the question remains for some where the IRS got the information for the deposit. One local woman, Ashley Victoria, told 23ABC she was notified her payment was deposited into an account she never used for tax filings.
"It said it had been deposited, but the account it had been deposited to was closed a few years back," Victoria wrote. "I never filed taxes on that account."
Victoria said she used prepaid cards through Turbo Tax for her 2019 tax filing and was assured the payment would go into those cards since they come with routing and account numbers.
H&R Block said on its website that it is still waiting for answers from the IRS, but that some people who have used its Emerald debit card will see their stimulus money transferred there.
TurboTax said the IRS has the appropriate banking information for all of its filers and that any of its customers who are eligible for a stimulus payment and had their refund transferred to a debit card will receive their payment without delays or fees.
In response to questions about taxpayers who received a 'Payment Status Not Available' message, the IRS released the following statement:
In situations where payment status is not available, the app will respond with “Status Not Available”. The IRS reminds users you may receive this message for one of the following reasons:
-If you are not eligible for a payment (see IRS.gov on who is eligible and who is not eligible)
-If you are required to file a tax return and have not filed in tax year 2018 or 2019.
If you recently filed your return or provided information through Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info on IRS.gov. Your payment status will be updated when processing is completed.
-If you are a SSA or RRB Form 1099 recipient, SSI or VA benefit recipient – the IRS is working with your agency to issue your payment; your information is not available in this app yet.
You can check the app again to see whether there has been an update to your information. The IRS reminds taxpayers that Get My Payment data is updated once per day, so there’s no need to check back more frequently.
The IRS continues to closely monitor the situation. In addition, more information will be shared on IRS.gov shortly on some common questions taxpayers are asking.
The IRS said they could not go into more detail about why individuals would receive an unavailable status because every individual case is unique. However since local IRS offices are closed, residents are unable to speak to representatives about their unique case. In response to this, the IRS directs individuals to the IRS FAQ page. Unfortunately, the FAQ page has a laundry list of potential reasons for why individuals are seeing the error message and no additional guidance other than to check back for updates.
On Thursday the IRS released another statement saying:
More than 80 million Economic Impact Payments have already been delivered this week to the nation’s taxpayers. As part of this effort, the IRS has launched two new tools to help taxpayers get their payments:
-Get My Payment is helping millions of taxpayers. Since its launch yesterday, millions of taxpayers have been able to input their direct deposit information to speed—and track--their payments. The IRS reminds taxpayers the information is updated once daily, usually overnight, so they only need to enter information once a day.
-The Non-Filers Enter Payment Info tool, launched last week, is helping millions of taxpayers successfully submit basic information to receive Economic Impact Payments quickly to their bank accounts. This tool is designed only for people who are not required to submit a tax return.
The IRS is working hard to deliver Economic Impact Payments to all eligible Americans as quickly as possible. These payments are being delivered in record time. The IRS is moving aggressively to provide additional information and resolve any issues. We appreciate taxpayers’ patience, and we will continue to share information and updates as they become available at IRS.gov/coronavirus.
The tool only updates once per day, according to the IRS, so users have to wait 24 hours before checking back in. If users log into the site too many times in the same 24-hour period, they will eventually receive a message saying 'Please Try Again Later" with a note that says "We are unable to provide you with the status of your payment or perform the action requested because:
Please come back after 24 hours and try again."
The Washington Post wrote Thursday morning that "Customers who use tax preparation services such as H&R Block, TurboTax and Jackson Hewitt" may not be receiving their stimulus payments immediately because those "tax preparation companies received these people’s tax refunds first, deducted their fees and then distributed the remaining refunds to the customers. Because of that, the IRS had a “temporary bank account” on file that the tax preparer created for the 2019 tax season."
The IRS is urging people to input their bank account information directly into the Get My Payment tool, yet for some users the option to do so is also unavailable.
The IRS says people who qualify for a payment will receive it by mail if they do not get it from direct deposit.