Thousands of frustrated taxpayers are discovering their $600 stimulus check, which arrived in most Americans' accounts without incident, ended up in a bank account that isn't theirs.
If you are among the 22% of people expecting to receive a check by mail, a delay of a few weeks is normal.
But many people expecting a direct deposit have discovered their money was deposited in the wrong account.
Money deposited into mystery bank account
Alysha Bradshaw checked her payment's status on Get My Payment, an IRS tool mean to help Americans figure out when and where to expect their stimulus money. In the case of a check that's already been deposited, the tool displays the last four digits of the recipient's account number.
"It says it was sent to my bank on Jan. 4, but the last four digits are not my bank account," Bradshaw said.
Instead, her money was sent a thousand miles away.
"If I Google the routing number, it's a bank in North Dakota," she said.
Niecie Boyd had last year's stimulus correctly deposited into her account, but not this time.
"The first payment was sent back in April to the correct last 4 digits of my account," Boyd told us. "The second payment went out Jan. 4, but the last four digits I did not recognize. It wasn't any of my accounts."
It turns out many people like her complaining on social media this week filed their taxes through H&R Block or TurboTax.
Both tax preparers now say the IRS sent some stimulus checks to company bank accounts instead of to their customers' personal accounts.
Why? As far as the IRS is concerned, those are the accounts that received last year's income tax refund.
The good news is that if you are in this situation, you should not have to wait three or four weeks for the mailman to bring you a check.
The tax preparation firms say they are aware of what happened and are now moving money into customer accounts or getting it to them in some other way.
H&R Block has issued a statement saying: "Don't worry. We are sending the money by direct deposit, check, or Emerald Card."
"We have been working tirelessly on a solution with the Treasury and the IRS," TurboTax wrote Wednesday in a message to customers. "As a result, our expectation now is that within days the error will be corrected and stimulus payments will begin being deposited into the correct bank accounts. We have also re-confirmed with the IRS that they have all of the correct banking information."
Some customers of other online tax preparers are also reporting delays in getting their money as well.
But the promise that the checks will come soon doesn't soothe taxpayers like Kyle Gulleman, who needs that $600.
"It's very frustrating, " he said. "We had to get some help to have our furnace replaced, and we are relying on that to get back to whole."
It is unlikely that he can call the IRS to correct this, as taxpayers report phone messages saying IRS lines are overwhelmed.
In a worst-case scenario, customers who qualify for the $600 but do not receive their payment promptly can still get it this tax season by claiming a special rebate credit when they file their 2020 taxes.
What you can do
So what can you do if your stimulus is missing, or went to the wrong account?
- Keep checking www.irs.gov for status updates on your check.
- Contact your tax preparer directly.
- Claim the $600 on your tax form this April.
Shortly after our interview, Niecie Boyd reported that her $600 has now shown up in her account.
Hopefully, you will see your check in coming days. When you get it, remember: Don't waste your money.
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