What should you do if you lost or threw away your stimulus?
Did you pitch your much-awaited stimulus payment because it showed up on a plastic card that, frankly, looked like an unsolicited debit or credit card?
Some people treated those envelopes like junk mail. After all, the card arrived in a plain envelope – marked Money Network Cardholder Services, not U.S. Treasury – and many people had absolutely no idea that they could be tossing away a piece of plastic that gave access to thousands of dollars.
Well, here's a bit of good news. You now won't be charged $7.50 to get a replacement card.
In an email to tax professionals Monday, the Internal Revenue Service said people who have lost or destroyed their Visa prepaid debit cards now can request a free replacement through MetaBank’s customer service department, as reported by Accounting Today.
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Normally, you would have been hit with a $7.50 fee for reissuing that card.
The prepaid debit card was one of the odder, more confusing twists of the rollout of stimulus money – or Economic Impact Payments – during the coronavirus relief effort. Many people had never heard that the IRS was sending prepaid debit cards to some; the IRS made note online at IRS.gov on May 20 of the debit cards issued by MetaBank.
The card, of course, is not the only headache associated with the rollout of stimulus payments that began in mid-April.
So here are some of the latest updates from the IRS that could help many people who have still not received money or lost it. The IRS continues to regularly update its FAQ under "Get My Payment" to address some areas of confusion.
What if I threw away a card loaded with stimulus money?
Fortunately, the IRS said you don't need to know the number on that card to request a replacement. You can call 800-240-8100 (select option 2 from the main menu).
Once you get that card, it's possible to transfer it to a bank account if you want.
The new limit for electronic transfers to your bank account is $2,500 per transaction – up from a previously announced $1,000. See EIPcard.com to review the process. Transfers should post to your bank account in one to two business days.
The IRS says online that I'm getting a check, will I?
Maybe or maybe not. Now the IRS "Get My Payment" site warns at the top: "If the Get My Payment application says you’re receiving a check, your payment may come as a debit card. Debit card payments come in a plain envelope from 'Money Network Cardholder Services.' "
Yes, a plain envelope.
About 4 million people who don't have direct deposit information on file with the IRS are expected to see their Economic Impact Payments on prepaid debit cards. The cards first began hitting mailboxes in late May.
Will the IRS call about my stimulus payment?
No. But scammers might call pretending to be from the IRS or another agency and offer to "help" you process your Economic Impact Payment. Don't share your Social Security or bank account information with those impersonating the IRS.
My payment went to a bank account that was closed: Now what?
Now, it's a waiting game. The IRS has to mail a payment to the address it has on file for you, if the bank rejected the deposit. If an account is closed or was invalid, the bank will reject the deposit.
"Typically, once the payment is mailed, it will take up to 14 days to receive the payment, standard mailing time," the IRS said.
Some direct deposit efforts ran into a glitch since some bank accounts on file were temporary setups that were used by tax preparers as part of a tax refund process and those accounts are no longer active.
What if the payment was issued but never received?
The IRS has a tool online called "Get My Payment" to help you track stimulus payments.
According to the IRS, if Get My Payment shows your payment was issued but you have not received it, you may need to try to trace the payment. But you shouldn't jump to track it too soon.
The IRS said: You should not try to trace it unless it has been more than five days since the scheduled direct deposit date. Or if you were expecting a check, you'd need to wait more than four weeks. Or wait six weeks if you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office. Or wait nine weeks from that scheduled date if you have a foreign address.
To trace your payment, call the IRS at 800-919-9835 or you may submit Form 3911. Granted, if you call, expect a long wait time.
If you submit the form and you are married filing joint, both spouses must sign the form.
If the check wasn't cashed, the IRS said, you'll receive a replacement check once the original check is canceled. (Note: If you find the original check and receive a replacement, you must return the original as soon as possible.)
If the refund check was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service will provide you with a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check. The bureau will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before determining whether they can issue you a replacement check.
Oh, don't use the payment trace process as a short cut. The IRS said you should not request a payment trace if you're trying to figure out if you were eligible or you should have received more money for the stimulus payments.