October 25, 2020
What's an EIP card and will you get one instead of a second stimulus check or direct deposit?

If you don’t file tax returns, the IRS could still owe you a $1,200 stimulus check. Here’s how to claim it


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The IRS this month will contact 9 million Americans who may still be owed stimulus money.


Angela Lang/CNET

While you wait on White House and Democratic negotiators to come back to the table and possibly strike a deal for a new coronavirus relief package, with a second stimulus check to help people weather the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be good news if you didn’t receive the first stimulus check.

The IRS has sent at least 160 million payments as of August through direct deposits, mailed checks and prepaid EIP debit cards, but up to 9 million people who qualify for that first stimulus check still haven’t received it and may not even know they can make a claim for it.

Included are nonfilers who didn’t need to file a federal tax return over the past two years, but must register to claim their money. (Some people with dependents are also missing portions of their check and have until Sep. 30 to file for it.) The Internal Revenue Service is mailing instructions in notification letters, but we’ll tell you how to get started and what you need to know.

Looking ahead, here’s when a potential second stimulus check could arrive for qualifying Americans and how much money you might receive. You can also consult CNET’s stimulus calculator tool for an estimate, and for a broader view, check out the six most important things to know about stimulus payments.

What’s the deadline to request an initial payment?

Those using the Non-Filers tool need to request their payment by Oct. 15. Afterward, the only way to claim a payment will be to file a federal income tax return.


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How will the IRS contact you?

The IRS will start sending the letters —  which it calls IRS Notice 1444-A — around Sept. 24 to those who may be eligible. The agency said the letter will be mailed from an IRS address. You can see a copy of the letter here (PDF) in English and Spanish.

How do you claim your payment?

If you weren’t required to file a federal tax return, the letter directs you to use the IRS’ Non-Filers tool, where you can provide some information to claim your payment.

If you were required to file your federal taxes but didn’t, the letter directs you to electronically file your 2019 tax return immediately and then use the IRS’ Get My Payment to check the status of your payment.

For more on economic impact payments have tips on how best to use your stimulus check, how to avoid being scammed and how young you can be and still get your own stimulus check money. Again, you can use our stimulus check calculator to get an estimate for how much you might receive.



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