No Stimulus Check? There’s Still Time
At the beginning of the month, I got a letter from the IRS. I was not pleased, assuming I did something wrong when filing my taxes. But no, it was a letter telling me I hadn’t claimed my stimulus check because I hadn’t filed 2019 taxes.
I vaguely remembered filing an extension in March because Coronavirus had begun to be A Thing, but then I just blanked out on the whole situation. Dealing with the pandemic, job changes, isolation, multiple exposure scares and testing, the political landscape, and the stress that the entire world is collectively experiencing has screwed up my sense of time. This letter was a kick to my brain.
Surprise, it’s October
Just in case you, too, are under the misguided impression that you still have months before your extension runs out, this is your reminder that the last day to file (without being late and getting penalties) is TOMORROW, October 15. When you file, you will automatically get a stimulus check if you are eligible. Go to IRS.gov and click on “Do Your Taxes For Free,” which is the third option down. My taxes aren’t super complicated, but I am a few steps above the 1040 EZ. The IRS site is surprisingly user friendly, and I am all filed and ready to go. In a few days, I can start tracking my check at IRS.gov/refunds, and you can follow yours too!
I filed and I don’t have a check
Let’s say you filed already because you, my friend, have your Shit Together. But you haven’t received a stimulus check. Easy peasy — go to IRS.gov. Make sure you are going to IRS DOT GOV, not DOT COM. Some people could make the dot com mistake and pay for all this information the government will give you for free.
Once you are on the website, click on the button that says, “Get My Economic Impact Payment.” (Please note how the government website changes tenses from “Get My Economic Impact Payment” to “Do Your Taxes For Free.” Just a friendly reminder that the government does not have their Shit Together.) The next page will lead you through all the scenarios as to where your check could be.
What about me? I don’t need to file taxes
Non-filers: for goodness sake, why haven’t you followed up on your stimulus money yet? I know the answer, because I feel it too: the world is burning around us, and sometimes it is just too much to go to a website and fill out a form. But honestly, the process is easy. IRS.gov/eip. You can do this, I promise!!
Can’t I just wait a few more days? Again, I don’t have to file
The letter I received says that if you are a first-class procrastinator and don’t follow my advice, the only way to obtain a stimulus check after October 15 is to file a (late) tax return-even if you don’t legally have to file. If you don’t hit that website by Thursday, Midnight EST, you will have to do more paperwork. So look, I get it, I really, really do. Stuff like this seems impossible sometimes. But hey, you are reading this on a device. Use that device to navigate to the website and put your name in. Go do it now. I will wait.
Oh, you didn’t go?
But Audrey, you say, I am a WORLD-CLASS procrastinator, and there is no way I can go to the website by tomorrow at midnight (EST).
Don’t give up. There is hope. You have until November 21, 2020, to get that ish done. Like I mentioned above, you have to file a return, but you can do it.
Well, I’m reading this on January 1, 2021
I understand. There is probably a way to get your stimulus check. According to the helpful letter I received, if you file taxes in 2021 for 2020, you can claim a “recovery rebate credit.” The letter did use the words “you may be able to claim”, so don’t take this as a sure thing and a reason to procrastinate more, okay?
Bottom line: if you don’t need to file taxes, get on the IRS website now and claim your stimulus payment.
The IRS has tried hard to help avoidant and procrastinating people such as myself this year. If I can do it, you can do it. Go getcha some money!!
Audrey Zetta is a riding out the pandemic in sunny LA. You can connect with her on Twitter @sweetandzesty.