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IRS stimulus check: Worried yours will go to the wrong address? Here are your options

Here are your options if you’re worried about your stimulus check going to the wrong address.

IRS stimulus check: Worried yours will go to the wrong address? Here are your options
[Photo: Luke Stackpoole/Unsplash; 金 运 /Unsplash]

Worried that your stimulus check will be mailed to the wrong address? The IRS is not making it easy.

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Whatever you do, do not send the ever-popular “Change of Address” Form 8822, or any other old-school paper form. At the moment, the overextended IRS would prefer taxpayers to use “electronic options.” It adds that some services, such as “live assistance on telephones,”  “processing paper tax returns,” and “responding to correspondence” are either extremely limited or outright suspended. Translation: The IRS is currently buried under a sea of paper that you do not want to be part of.

Buried in that sentence is the news that the IRS is attempting to shift from a largely paper-based organization to an online entity, a longstanding, slow-moving transition that has become infinitely more urgent in the wake of the pandemic. The IRS Get May Payment portal continues to be inoperable for many, not allowing users to update bank and address information. The portal requires a social security number or EIN, along with details like address, gross adjusted income, and owed tax amount that appeared on 2019 or 2018 taxes. And if one piece of information is incorrect, the portal gives no indication which line may be problematic. The portal also continues to not work for people in a number of common scenarios, such as those who haven’t yet filed 2018 and 2019 returns.

If you need to change your address, but you can’t access the portal, your choices are to:

  • File your 2019 tax return with an updated address. Here is the free filing portal.
  • Electronically amend your already-filed 2019 tax return with an updated address. A tax professional can help you do this.
  • Accept that your check is being mailed to an old address. If this is you, inform the people at the old address. Send them a postcard explaining the situation and asking them to text you, so you are in contact. Key!

If you are expecting a paper check in the mail, here is the timeline for when you can expect it. The IRS recently added a handy chart allowing you to calculate how much you will receive.

Good luck.

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