What do I do if I didn’t receive my stimulus check?

If you did not receive your stimulus check, you may need to take action to obtain your funds.

Stimulus check 1 and 2

If you did not receive your first or second stimulus check, you will need to file a 2020 tax return to obtain it. The IRS is accepting returns for the 2020 tax year so you can submit your forms as soon as you are able.

When you submit your 2020 tax return, you will be able to claim unpaid funds from your first and second stimulus check through the “Recovery Rebate Credit.” You can claim this credit if you did not receive any stimulus money at all. If you received the incorrect amount, you can claim a partial credit and get any additional funds you’re owed.

It’s possible to claim your payment by filing your tax return because the stimulus checks were an advance on a tax credit. Unfortunately, since the IRS is no longer sending out these advances, the only way to claim unpaid stimulus money is to file a tax return. This means individuals who ordinarily wouldn’t submit one will have to this year to get their funds.

E-filing your 2020 return and requesting a refund via direct deposit is the fastest way to claim any unpaid stimulus funds. You can file your return electronically for free if your income is under $72,000. The IRS has instructions on how to do that on its Free File website.

Stimulus check 3

If your third stimulus check hasn’t yet arrived, chances are you don’t have to do anything. The IRS is still in the process of sending out the payments and it may be several weeks before you get yours.

However, it’s worth checking the IRS Get my Payment tool. If it says it needs more information, you should provide your bank details to obtain your funds. Likewise, you may need to file a 2020 tax return to claim your third check if:

  • You were claimed as a dependent in 2019 but not in 2020
  • Your income fell in 2020 and you were below the income thresholds for eligibility for the third check last year but not when you filed your most recent tax return

You should submit your 2020 return ASAP in these situations to ensure you receive all the money that’s due. If you have a new dependent that you did not declare on your most recent return, you’ll also need to file a 2020 return in order to obtain the $1,400 dependent payment.