That $600 Second Stimulus Payment Might Not Arrive If You Changed Banks


The latest round of $600 stimulus checks is on the way. Meanwhile, many have already arrived for millions of Americans.

But for people who recently changed their bank account information, that payment might not come at all.

The IRS and U.S. Treasury Department began issuing the second economic impact payments through direct deposit and mailing paper checks and debit cards in early January. The payments, which were authorized by the latest $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, are generally $600 for eligible individuals, $600 for qualifying children and $1,200 for married couples filing a joint return.

Here's what you need to know about getting your second payment if you changed banks.

IRS won't send checks if direct deposit doesn't work

To send the latest payment to Americans, the IRS is using account information that was either provided on your 2019 tax return, non-filer registration, entered into the "Get My Payment" tool before Dec. 22 or provided by a federal agency issuing benefits — such as the Social Security Administration, Veteran Affairs or the Railroad Retirement Board, according to its website.

Currently, this account information including direct deposit details cannot be changed or updated, according to the IRS. That means that if you have a new bank account and didn't previously update your information with the IRS, you won't get your payment.

In the first round of checks to Americans, if a bank rejected and returned a stimulus payment because of incorrect account information, the IRS would then mail out a paper check or debit card. But this time, the IRS won't do that.

"The IRS is working hard to deliver the second Economic Impact Payment quickly, as required by law, while still preparing for the upcoming 2021 tax filing season," the agency said on its site, updated Wednesday. "Due to the compressed timeline, the IRS is unable to reissue and mail checks and instead encourages people to file their 2020 tax return electronically to claim and receive the Recovery Rebate Credit as quickly as possible."

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What if I don't get a payment?

If your bank account information was incorrect and you didn't get a direct deposit of the second payment, you can claim it later when you file your taxes, according to the IRS.

The way this works is that you claim the payments as a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 tax return in 2021. The credit will either reduce your tax bill or increase the size of any refund. While you gather your documents for filing, keep and include any letters or forms you receive from the IRS.

To be sure, there are other reasons that people may not get the second round of stimulus money or get less than they're eligible to receive according to the new law.

People who have a change in eligibility, such as a new baby, don't get the amount they should have or think they were set to receive a payment and didn't for any reason can claim the stimulus via the credit, the IRS says.

The agency recommends that people file their 2020 return electronically to get the credit as quickly as possible.

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