Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer

·5 min read

The IRS will start sending out third stimulus checks very soon (some people will get paid this weekend). So, if you're already asking yourself "where's my stimulus check," the IRS will soon have an online tool that will let you track your payment. The tool is called the "Get My Payment" portal, and it will be an updated version of the popular tool Americans used to track the status of their first- and second-round stimulus checks. (To find out how much money you will get, use our Third Stimulus Check Calculator.)

According to the IRS, the updated tool will go live on Monday, March 15. It will be available in both English and Spanish.

When the new version goes live, you won't be able to check the status of your first- or second-round stimulus payments. If you didn't get an earlier payment, or your received less than the full amount, you might be able to get what you're owed by claiming the Recovery Rebate credit on your 2020 tax return. (You can file a return just to claim the credit even if you aren't required to file.) Third-round stimulus payments aren't used to calculate the 2020 Recovery Rebate credit, but they will be used to figure the credit amount on your 2021 tax return..

We expect the updated "Get My Payment" portal to more-or-less work the same as the tool used for first- and second-round stimulus checks. So, here's a refresher course on what the tool is expected to do, what information you'll likely need to provide, and what information the tool is probably going to provide. Check it out so you're ready to go when the tool goes live again.

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What Does the Stimulus Check Portal Do?

Based on its past performance, we expect the updated "Get My Payment" tool to let you:

  • Check the status of your stimulus payment;

  • Confirm your payment type (paper check or direct deposit); and

  • Get a projected direct deposit or paper check delivery date (or find out if a payment hasn't been scheduled).

We don't know yet if you'll be able to enter or change your bank account information to have your payment directly deposited into your account. That was allowed for first-round stimulus checks, but not for second-round payments. The IRS already has bank account information for millions of Americans from recent tax returns, tax payments, last year's non-filers tool, and other federal payments (e.g., Social Security benefits) that are sent to you. It's possible that the tax agency will limit direct deposit payments to bank accounts that they already have, and then send paper checks or debit cards to everyone else.

Earlier versions of the portal were updated no more than once daily, typically overnight. That will probably be the case again. As a result, there's no reason to check the portal more than once per day after it's updated for third-round payments.

What Information Will You Need?

To access the tool, you'll probably be asked to provide a:

  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN);

  • Date of birth;

  • Street address; and

  • Five-digit ZIP or postal code.

If you file a joint tax return, either spouse should be able to access the portal by providing their own information for the security questions used to verify a taxpayer's identity. Once verified, the same payment status should be shown for both spouses.

If you submit information that doesn't match the IRS's records multiple times, you'll probably be locked out of portal for 24 hours (expect a "Please try again later" message). Don't contact the IRS if that happens. Instead, just wait 24 hours and try again.

If you're allowed to add bank account information to get your stimulus check directly deposited into your account, you'll probably also need to provide:

  • Your adjusted gross income from your 2019 tax return;

  • The refund or amount owed from your 2019 tax return;

  • The type of your bank account (e.g., savings or checking); and

  • Your bank account and routing numbers.

What Will the Status Report Look Like?

Based on previous versions of the "Get My Payment" portal, the tool will probably display results similar to the following:

1. Payment Status. Either (A) a payment has been processed, a payment date is available, and payment was sent either by direct deposit or mail; or (B) you're eligible, but a payment has not been processed and a payment date is not available.

2. Need More Information. You're eligible for a payment, but the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information. You'll have the opportunity to provide your bank information once you properly verified your identity. [This option was not available for second-round payments, since the IRS was not collecting new bank account information.]

3. Payment Status Not Available. The IRS can't determine your eligibility for a payment at that time. For example, if you didn't file either a recent tax return, or you recently filed but the return hasn't been fully processed.

Can You Use the Portal if You Didn't File a Tax Return?

You couldn't use the "Get My Payment" portal to track the status of your first stimulus check if you didn't file a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return. However, there was another online tool that non-filers could use to give the IRS with the information it needed to process a payment.

The non-filers tool wasn't used for second stimulus checks, though. Instead, if you didn't file a 2019 tax return, and you didn't use the non-filers tool to get your first-round payment, then you'll had to wait to claim your second stimulus check money as a Recovery Rebate credit on your 2020 return.

At this point, we don't know if the IRS will use the non-filers tool for third-round stimulus checks.