Missing or shortchanged stimulus check? Here’s what to do

People all over Washington are dealing with missing or shortchanged stimulus checks. It’s money people are relying on heavily — and some have already paid for expenses like bills, assuming they’d be getting an extra $600 soon.

Many who are checking the IRS “Get My Payment” tool are finding their second stimulus checks were deposited to an account number they don’t recognize.

“I panicked, thinking what is going on?” said Penny Fox, who lives in Everett.

“Found out the stimulus had been deposited, but it was not in our account. I have no idea where it is,” said Gale Ferguson, who lives in Orting.

The IRS expressed in a statement, “Because of the speed at which the law required the IRS to issue the second round of Economic Impact Payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or, is or no longer active, or unfamiliar.”

Fox takes care of her mom who is in hospice.

“I’m the only child, so she depends on me. And when I’m living paycheck to paycheck and trying to take care of her needs and mine, that $600 would’ve helped tremendously,” Fox said.

She tried to call the IRS — with no success.

“I’ve been on the phone for hours, and it disconnects. I tried last night like three hours. I tried today,” Fox said.

KIRO 7 learned that all three used a tax preparing service like H&R Block or Turbo Tax.

Those companies stated the IRS selects which accounts the refund goes to. H&R Block expressed in a statement, “The IRS determines where second stimulus payments were sent, and in some cases, money was sent to a different account than the first stimulus payment last spring.”

“It’s the IRS. They shouldn’t have that big of a screw-up and mess with people like that. It’s very frustrating,” Fox said.

Ferguson said three people in her family never got their checks. All went through H&R Bock and paid for the fees through the tax refund.

Others impacted got an advance on the tax return.

H&R Block is working to fix the problem. It stated online that “direct deposits should be received by end of day, Wednesday, Jan. 6.”

“We immediately deposited millions of stimulus payments to customers’ bank accounts and onto our Emerald Prepaid Mastercard® yesterday, and all direct deposits are being processed,” according to H&R Block in a statement to KIRO 7.

Turbo Tax wrote on Twitter, linking to its parent company, that it will “not play a role in facilitating these payments.”

That means those customers may still receive a check from the IRS. But if you don’t get a check by the end of the month, you should file for the missing stimulus money in your 2020 tax returns.  According to the law, the IRS must have all checks mailed out by Jan. 15.

The IRS expressed in a statement, “Due to the compressed timeline, the IRS is unable to reissue and mail checks and instead encourages people to file their 2020 tax return electronically to claim and receive the Recovery Rebate Credit quickly as possible.”

The form you’ll need is Form 1040. The specific line is Line 30 that indicates, “Recovery rebate credit.” People who have qualified dependents not included in the check can also file for the missing money using the same form.

But the delay means even harder times for people who were counting on receiving that check.

“I almost get in tears on that. But to be protected with our state — if I fall behind on a bit, it’ll be OK,” said a single mom, who lives in Bothell.

Tax season has not officially been announced for 2021, but it usually starts around Feb. 1.