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IRS: Please stop calling us about stimulus checks

Flooded by phone calls, the IRS is asking Americans to check the status of their payment online instead

Overwhelmed by phone calls, the Internal Revenue Service has issued an announcement asking Americans to use the agency's website instead of calling to check the status of their second stimulus check. 

The IRS and Treasury department have begun distributing the $600 Economic Impact Payments for both direct deposit payments and paper checks or debit cards. These will continue to be sent out through January, the agency said in the press release. 

The direct deposits can take several days to post to accounts, and may appear online as "pending" or "provisional" before it becomes available. 

Americans hoping to check the status of their check can go to the "Get My Payment" tool, available in English and Spanish, on the IRS website. After entering your information, the tool will tell you whether your payment is coming via mail or direct deposit, and when it's expected to arrive. 

"The IRS emphasizes that there is no action required by eligible individuals to receive this second payment. The payments are automatic, and people should not contact their financial institutions or the IRS with payment timing questions," the press release reads. 

This round of payments provides $600 for Americans with a 2019 adjusted gross income of up to $75,000, or for married couples filing joint returns, up to $150,000.  There is an additional $600 for each qualifying child. Americans who made more than that in 2019 will have a reduced payment amount. 

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The rules for eligibility are slightly tweaked this time around. While the first round of payments excluded citizens or green card holders married to an undocumented immigrant, Congress moved to allow mixed-status immigrant families to receive the second payment. Otherwise, non-citizens must have a social security number to receive the payment. 

Americans who are 17 or older and claimed as a dependent will not be eligible for the checks. 

If you ultimately do not receive your payment, or receive less than you were eligible for, you can claim this on your 2020 tax return. This could happen, for example, if the IRS sends it to a bank account that you have closed.

Under law, the bank is required to return it to the IRS. If the IRS hasn't redirected the money to you by the time you file your 2020 return, you can claim the "Recovery Rebate Credit" when you file, according to the press release.

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