Stimulus check missing or lost? What you should do

IRS had difficulty reaching some households

Tens of millions of Americans may be missing out on their economic impact payments, but there are ways you can retrieve the check if you have not yet received it.

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report this week noting that the IRS had difficulty reaching some individuals in order to deliver payments.

A clear-cut sign your money is missing is if you received a signed letter from President Trump detailing the payment. These letters were expected to be sent two weeks after the economic impact payments.

CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS PREPAID CARDS MAILED IN PLAIN ENVELOPES ARE NOT JUNK MAIL, IRS CAUTIONS

One thing people may want to do before taking any action is to use the IRS’ Get My Payment tool, which can help track eligible individuals’ payment status.

If the payment was a direct deposit, check with your bank to make sure it did not receive a deposit.

If the payment wasn’t received or was lost, stolen or destroyed, the IRS directs people to request a payment trace.

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Here’s how that process works:

The IRS will process your claim in a number of ways. If a check has not been cashed, it will issue a replacement. If the original check is found, it must be returned as soon as possible. If a check was cashed, the IRS will send a package containing a copy of the cashed check. It will contain instructions to follow and the agency will review the claim before deciding whether to issue another.

The process is likely to take some time. The tax agency said to expect a response six weeks after you request a payment trace, though it could take even longer.

To start a trace, call 800-919-9835 or complete this form, Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund (PDF), which must be mailed to the appropriate local office.

Other considerations

As previously reported by FOX Business, the government was warning individuals not to throw away their prepaid debit cards – which arrive in plain envelopes.

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There are also about 12 million people who do not typically file tax returns and therefore don’t have information on file with the tax agency. They don’t participate in other programs, like Social Security, which means their payments weren’t sent automatically. In order to ensure you receive the money, you must give the agency your information by using its nonfilers tool.

The IRS has issued more than 160 million payments.

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