The federal government has only just begun sending out a second round of stimulus payments, and many people are already waiting a little longer than expected for their money.
Many payments have been sent to inactive or temporary accounts that taxpayers don’t have access to. It’s not clear how many people are affected, but the tax preparation company Jackson Hewitt said the Internal Revenue Service had sent payments to more than 13 million bank accounts that were no longer open or valid.
“Because of the speed at which the law required the I.R.S. to issue the second round of Economic Impact Payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or no longer active,” the agency said in a statement on Tuesday.
Companies like TurboTax, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt sometimes set up temporary accounts for clients when they prepare returns. For example, clients who opts to have preparation fees deducted from their refund may be issued one of these accounts, allowing the tax firm to take its share and then pass on the rest. After that, the accounts are generally inactive — but may still be linked to the taxpayers in I.R.S. records. Payments that are sent to inactive accounts must be returned to the Treasury.
By law, the I.R.S. must issue payments by Jan. 15. People who don’t receive a payment can recover it on their 2020 tax return; the payment will become part of their regular refund, the I.R.S. said. (The Recovery Rebate Credit can be found on line 30 of the 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR.)
Taxpayers can check the status of their stimulus payments with the I.R.S.’s Get My Payment tool. If you don’t recognize the account number that received the payment, it may be one of these temporary accounts.
The tax preparation companies said they were working to get payments to customers.
H&R Block said it was already passing along stimulus payments to customers’ bank accounts and via prepaid debit card to certain customers. A spokeswoman for TurboTax said the company was working with the I.R.S. to help taxpayers receive their payments as soon as possible. And Jackson Hewitt suggested on its website that customers consider taking the rebate on their 2020 taxes.