The IRS Has 3 Days To Distribute Remaining Stimulus Checks

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have just three days until January 15 to finish issuing millions of $600 stimulus checks. If you don’t receive your payment before then, you will need to claim it on your 2020 tax return under the Recovery Rebate Credit, which could delay your check by weeks or even months.

The days leading up to the Friday deadline will be tumultuous on Capitol Hill. The House plans to impeach President Trump a second time while Vice President Pence faces increased scrutiny to call on the 25th Amendment following last Wednesday’s attempted coup and the upcoming inauguration on January 20. The final day to issue stimulus checks is just one more factor as the country’s COVID-19 case count surpasses new benchmarks.

Even though the Treasury and IRS already distributed an estimated 80% of the stimulus payments via direct deposits, physical checks, and EIP cards, the final 20% must be sent by the end of this week. The government issued the $600 payments so rapidly that it has already discovered a mistake (which it is working to mend) that left millions of Americans without their benefit. 

Why Is There A Deadline To Issue The Stimulus Checks, Anyway?

President Trump signed the $900 billion relief bill into law on December 31. The legislation’s text slated January 15 as the last day to distribute the $600 checks — a total timeframe of 17 days, including weekends. The authors of the bill have not offered specifics as to why they picked this date. Tax season, which the Treasury and IRS both play a large role in, usually starts in mid-to-late January and ends on April 15.

If your check doesn’t arrive before this Friday, you will have to claim the full or partial missing money when you file 2020’s taxes under the Recovery Rebate Credit. This credit also applies to missing money from the first round of stimulus checks sent out last spring.

Several people scheduled to receive direct deposits have encountered issues. If you are one of these individuals, you won’t be able to get your money until you claim the Recovery Rebate Credit and receive your tax refund.

Basing the distribution of the $600 direct payments to 2020 tax returns will prevent many eligible taxpayers from receiving their money on time. This is because a broad range of factors will lead some to file as soon as this month while others wait until April 15 — or later, if they file an extension. Furthermore, it’s uncertain how fast the IRS will issue the missing payments claimed as a credit.

IRS Ending Direct Deposits

The IRS issued the first series of direct deposits on December 29, stating it would continue sending payments through last week. It’s uncertain if the agencies responsible for the stimulus checks will keep processing direct deposit deposits until the January cutoff. Those who have encountered problems with receiving direct deposits cannot resolve these issues until they file their 2020 taxes.

Although qualifying taxpayers don’t need to take action to get their money — as long as the bank account and mailing address you filed with the IRS is up-to-date — there is nothing you can do to change the form of payment you receive.

For instance, you can’t update the information on file with the IRS to let them know that you opened a new bank account or closed an old one. If the IRS can’t send your stimulus check, you have to claim it as a credit.

Will The IRS Issue Checks And EIP Cards Before The Cutoff?

If you didn’t give the IRS your bank information when you filed your 2019 taxes, you will get a check or prepaid debit card through the mail. Once more, it’s uncertain if the agency has enough time to complete the process before January 15. But, based on data from a government report published last June, the IRS managed to process an estimated five and seven million stimulus checks per week last year.

To track your payment, use the IRS’s Get My Payment tool.

In an email to CNET, the IRS stated it is processing about 8 million stimulus checks in the form of prepaid debit cards — double the amount issued for the first direct payments. This means that you might receive a debit card for your second payment even if you received a physical check last spring. On the other hand, those who were sent debit cards could get physical checks this time.

The IRS cautioned that qualifying taxpayers who don’t receive their payment as a direct deposit should expect a check or debit card. It notes that the envelope containing the checks will be white and feature the US Treasury Department’s seal.


  • Colby, Clifford. “The IRS Only Has 4 Days Left to Send Your Second Stimulus Check. What You Should Know.” CNET, CNET, 11 Jan. 2021,


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