This May Be the Reason Your Stimulus Check Is Still Delayed

Millions of Americans have already received their payment, but this could be why you're waiting.

The third stimulus bill was passed last week, allotting a base amount of $1,400 to Americans all across the country. And while an influx of people got their stimulus checks before or on March 17—after major banks like Chase and Wells Fargo finally sent off payments—others continue to wait. According to experts, your stimulus check could still be delayed depending on how you filed your taxes. Read on to find out if this is why you're waiting for your payment, and for more on delayed checks, If You Haven't Received Your Stimulus Payment Yet, You Need To Check This.

If you filed a paper tax return, your stimulus check may be delayed.

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The IRS has announced it will determine your eligibility for the third stimulus payment based on your most recent tax return—so your 2020 tax return, if it has already been submitted and processed, or your 2019 tax return if it has not. However, if you submitted a paper tax return for either your 2019 or your 2020 tax return, you may have to wait longer for your stimulus check, because the IRS takes longer to process a paper return than an electronic one.

As Michael Hunsche, the managing director of Hunsche CPA Group/Management and Tax Services, explained to WANE-TV, it's likely your tax return has not yet been processed if you did not file it electronically. According to CBS News, IRS and Treasury Department officials said on March 12 that you should file an electronic return in 2020 to ensure a faster processing time for stimulus payments. And for more on the stimulus and your taxes, If You're Waiting on a Stimulus Check, Read This Before Filing Your Taxes.

The IRS has delayed processing millions of tax returns.

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The task of issuing stimulus payments has caused major backups in the IRS' tax processing system. According to The Washington Post, 6.7 million tax returns have not been processed by the IRS as of March 12—which is more than three times the number in the same period last year. And while the IRS processed electronically filed returns in a relatively normal timeline in 2020, paper returns are the ones facing significant delays, a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found.

"IRS's overall 2020 performance was significantly impacted by its reliance on manual processes such as for paper returns, and its limited ability to process returns remotely while processing centers were closed. As a result, as of December 2020, IRS had a significant backlog of unprocessed returns and taxpayer correspondence," the GAO report revealed.

The Washington Post reported that these tax return processing delays have forced the agency to extend the traditional tax filing deadline this year by more than a month, from April 15 to May 17. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The IRS says they have delivered 90 million stimulus checks so far.

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The IRS said on March 17 that they have already delivered 90 million stimulus checks in a "first batch" of payments for the third stimulus. "The first batch of payments were mostly sent by direct deposit, which some recipients started receiving this past weekend. As of today, all recipients of this first batch of direct deposit payments will have access to their funds," the agency stated on their website. The agency also said that they have sent out another 150,000 checks via mail. However, you may still be waiting, and the IRS knows this. According to the agency, "additional batches and payments will be sent in the coming weeks by direct deposit and through the mail as a check or debit card." And if you're still waiting, Your Stimulus Check May Never Come If You Don't Do This, IRS Says.

There are other reasons your stimulus check could be delayed.

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Of course, this is not be the only reason your stimulus check might be held up. If it's in the mail, you might still be waiting for it to arrive. You can check the payment's status via the IRS' "Get My Payment" tool. And if you moved in the past year and have not updated the IRS with your new address, you could be waiting even longer. The agency says the post office will return your check to the IRS if it cannot deliver it. If this happens or if the bank somehow rejects your deposit (which can happen if the account information was incorrect or the account has been closed), you will see a "Need More Information" notice on the payment status tool. With this notice, you'll need to update the IRS with new information to receive your check. And for more on past payments, If You Never Got Your Last Stimulus Check, Experts Say Do This Now.

Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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