CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Americans watch bank accounts and the IRS's new tracker to get updates on their stimulus payments; taxes are NOT due today

ByMichael Finney and Simone Chavoor KGO logo
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Stimulus checks headed to millions of Americans today | How to check your status
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Stimulus checks headed to millions of Americans today | How to check your status

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Americans watch their bank accounts, the IRS's new tracking tool for updates on stimulus payments

As eligible Americans eagerly await their "economic impact payments" from the U.S. Treasury Department, the government says that Wednesday is the day most people who are receiving the payment via direct deposit will see the money hit their accounts.

Direct deposit payments began earlier this week; qualifying Americans can receive up to $1,200 per individual or $2,400 for married couples (depending on their income), and an additional $500 per eligible dependent child. The Treasury is using 2018 or 2019 tax return information (whichever is most recent) in order to determine the amount paid and how to send it to each person. Those who receive Social Security payments will automatically get their stimulus payments through their Social Security; those who do not usually file taxes are encouraged to use the IRS's "non-filers" form to send their information to the government so they can receive their stimulus.

To allow Americans to track the progress of their payments, the IRS has launched their "Get My Payment" tracking tool on their website. The tool was originally planned to go live this Friday, but is up and active as of Wednesday. According to the IRS, 6.2 million taxpayers were able to check their payment status, and 1.1 million were able to provide direct deposit banking information as of mid-day Wednesday.

However, reports of difficulty getting through are pouring in over social media. More than 700 comments were left on one of ABC7's posts about the "Get My Payment" tool, many saying that they could not access their information. Even 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney had difficulty at first, but after 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday was able to log in. The IRS says that any difficulties in accessing the site is not due to the site crashing, but that "if site volume gets too high, users are sent to an online 'waiting room' for a brief wait until space becomes available."

To use the "Get My Payment" tool, users will first see the opening page, then click through to a government warning that the tool is for "authorized use only." Then, the user will need to fill out a form, including Social Security number and address. The page after that will then tell the user if they are eligible for a payment, and how it will be received.

The "Get My Payment" tool will also soon allow people to change their address or provide banking information in order to get a direct deposit. The IRS notes that only those who did not previously provide direct deposit information will be able to do so using the "Get My Payment" tool; those who already have direct deposit info on file with the IRS are not able to change it.

Adding direct deposit info can considerably speed up the delivery of the money; according to a memo obtained by the Associated Press, the Treasury will begin cutting paper checks and mailing them out the week of May 4, and could take up to 20 weeks to process all paper checks. The online form to update information is still expected to go live in mid-April.

Some have taken to social media to complain that their payments are incorrect or were sent to the wrong bank account. According to the IRS website, "If the bank account is closed, the bank will reject the deposit and you will be issued your payment to the address we have on file for you. If our Get My Payment application indicates your payment has been processed, you cannot change your bank account information." 7 On Your Side reached out to the IRS to find out how incorrect or misdirected payments could be flagged and fixed, and will report our findings.

Tax Day is NOT today

Today is April 15, but state and federal taxes are not due.

In March, both the California State Franchise Tax Board and the federal government moved the deadline for filing and paying taxes to July 15, allowing three extra months in light of the coronavirus pandemic. No late-filing penalty, late-payment penalty or interest will be due.

This extension also effects some other tax deadlines, including quarterly estimated taxes and some business taxes.

The extension does not include state property tax, which was due on April 10. However, some Bay Area counties -- San Francisco and San Mateo -- have offered relief for those who cannot pay their property taxes on time. On Monday, Santa Clara County proposed waiving the penalty fees for late property tax payments, which will be decided at an April 21 board meeting.

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