Under the $900 billion coronavirus relief package that Congress passed at the end of December, the IRS must issue the $600 stimulus payments by Jan. 15. After that deadline, Americans who are eligible to receive the money but haven't yet must claim it as a credit on their 2020 returns.
If you don't receive the cash payment -- or get the wrong amount -- then you can claim a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.
American adults who earned less than $75,000 in 2019 will receive the full $600 check, while couples who earned less than $150,000 will receive $1,200. The payments will be tapered for higher-earners (5% of the amount by which their adjusted gross incomes exceeded the initial threshold) and phased out completely for individuals who earn more than $87,000 and couples who earn more than $174,000.
But some Americans aren't eligible to receive the cash payment: College students and dependents over the age of 17 won't receive the money, nor will immigrants who don't have a Social Security number. Some higher-earners who received a check during the first round of stimulus payments will also not qualify for the second round.
You can use the IRS's Get My Payment tool to check the status of your stimulus check.
The IRS inadvertently sent some Americans' checks to accounts that had been closed or no longer active, a snafu that arose because many tax preparations companies, including TurboTax, H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt and others, said the agency had mistakenly deposited the money into temporary “pass-through” accounts that customers no longer had access to.
If the financial institutions cannot process the payment, the money must be returned to the government.
TurboTax said early Monday morning that it had successfully gotten stimulus payments to "millions" of customers affected by the error.
"Unfortunately, for some tax filers affected by the IRS error, stimulus payments are still at the IRS," the company tweeted. "Without the IRS releasing these funds to us, we do not have a way to get your payment to you. The IRS will need to re-issue your stimulus payment."
The federal government has already deposited more than 100 million stimulus payments into recipients' accounts, the IRS said. About 8 million will arrive via mail in the form of a prepaid debit card.