How to track your new stimulus check payment from the IRS

Laveta Brigham

The IRS updated its online tracking tool for your second stimulus check payment. Sarah Tew/CNET The IRS and US Treasury have a short window to make payments of your second stimulus check before you have to take extra steps to claim your payment from the IRS. The good news is that the IRS […]

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The IRS updated its online tracking tool for your second stimulus check payment.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The IRS and US Treasury have a short window to make payments of your second stimulus check before you have to take extra steps to claim your payment from the IRS. The good news is that the IRS has activated its online second stimulus check tracking tool, which will tell you:

You can also see a payment schedule for your first stimulus payment, if you’re still waiting for that, too. Here’s what the tool will and won’t tell you about your second stimulus check, how to decode error messages and more. (And if you need it, here’s a different way to track your mailed check to your house.)

What to know before using IRS’ Get My Payment check tracking tool

The IRS payment-tracking tool, called Get My Payment, reopened on Jan. 4. If you used the tool this past spring, it works much the same way now. Here’s some helpful information.

  • The IRS updates its status tracking information once a day, overnight.
  • If you try to access the tool during a busy period, you may wait in a queue before you can enter your information.
  • You’ll need to plug in your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, date of birth, street address and ZIP or postal code.
  • The portal may show your payment status, whether it’s been scheduled, the payment method (direct deposit or by mail) and date. It’ll also let you know if the service can’t yet determine your status.
  • The IRS is sending payments on a schedule and in batches. If your payment schedule is set, the Get My Payment tool will show you the date.

You should receive a letter after the IRS issues your payment, with information on the amount you received and how you received it.

After using the IRS tracker, you could also sign up for a free service from the post office that tells you exactly when your stimulus check will arrive in the mail.


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Did you see an error message using Get My Payment?

When the IRS rolled out the tool last spring, you might have seen confusing messages when using the status app. To help explain the messages, the IRS created an FAQ to explain common status messages. In our early checks this time around, we also received a few confusing messages. 

You may see confusing messages if the tool can’t determine your eligibility, for example, if your payment status isn’t available or if a lot of people are trying to access the tool. Here are some initial reasons why Get My Payment may not be able to track your payment status, though the IRS has since said it’s improved its tool.

Can you use the tool to set up direct deposit with the IRS?

For the first checks, you could use the Get My Payment tool to give the IRS your banking information to have your check sent via direct deposit. According to the IRS’ FAQ for the second check, the answer is no. “Your payment information cannot be changed. If you don’t get a payment and you are eligible to receive one, it may be claimed on your 2020 tax return as the Recovery Rebate Credit.”

For the second checks, the IRS said it is using banking information it gathered from your 2019 tax return, from the now-closed Non-Filers tool if you used it prior to Dec. 22, 2020, or from a federal agency that issued benefits to you, such as the Social Security Administration.

We’ve asked the US Treasury and IRS for additional clarification.

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The IRS and US Treasury are now making the second round of stimulus payments.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Track when your stimulus check comes in the mail, for free

If your second stimulus check is going to arrive in the mail, the US Postal Service has a free app that can notify you when it’s about to deliver your stimulus money from the IRS. Called Informed Delivery, the mail-tracking service automatically scans your letters and can alert you when they’ll be delivered. Here’s more on how to set up and use the letter-tracking service from the USPS to keep tabs on your payment.

You’ll receive a letter confirming your second payment was sent

With the first check, the IRS sent mail to a taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after sending the payment to confirm delivery. The letter contained information on when and how the payment was made and how to report to the IRS if you didn’t receive your check. The IRS said it is sending a letter for the second checks as well. Hold on to the letter in case you don’t receive your full payment and need to claim your money later.

For more information, here’s everything to know about a second stimulus check, including when the next IRS checks could potentially get sent and who might qualify for more money.

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