How to track your coronavirus stimulus check on April 17: What we know so far


Coronavirus checks will start to go out in a couple weeks.

Angela Lang/CNET

Starting this week, the first economic stimulus checks of up to $1,200 will start to go out for eligible taxpayers, beginning with people who have direct deposit set up with the IRS. CNET readers are already reporting they’ve received notification from their banks their checks will post April 15. You’ll be able to track your payment with the IRS, through a tracking tool that the agency will put on its website by April 17, the IRS told CNET.

But just because the checks begin to post this week doesn’t mean that everyone will get their stimulus money on the first day, or even the first week. Those who’ve set up direct deposit with the IRS can expect to get their stimulus payment faster.

These one-time stimulus payments are part of a $2 trillion 2020 coronavirus relief package intended to help you pay your expenses and spur the flagging economy, as people lose their jobs and businesses shutter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It isn’t clear without calculation how much you’re entitled to receive. Your final allowance depends on a line in your tax form from either your 2018 or 2019 taxes. You can follow our guidelines or use a calculator to find out, but a little legwork is unavoidable.

If you haven’t submitted your taxes yet and need a refund soon, here are reasons you might want to file taxes by April 15, despite an automatic tax extension.

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Stimulus checks will begin to arrive next week

The IRS said the first checks for those who have direct deposit set up with the IRS will start to go out this week of April 13

The stimulus money will arrive either in your bank account if you set up direct deposit with the IRS for past refunds during tax season, including prepaid cards, or in the mail with your registered address. 

If you would like to set up direct deposit to receive your payment directly to your bank account, the IRS said it expects to have an online tracker portal you can use to set up and track electronic payments by April 17. 

While we know when to expect the first checks, we don’t know how long it will take for the IRS to process a check for every entitled taxpayer, of which there could be more than a hundred million. 

You don’t need to sign up to receive a check

To receive the stimulus payment, you may need to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 if you are normally required to. You can still do that now. Here’s how.

Senior citizens, Social Security recipients, railroad retirees and other beneficiaries who typically are not required to file tax returns will not need to file one to receive a payment.

When you can track the status of your payment

The IRS said it expects by April 17 to have an online tracking tool called Get My Payment that will show the status of your payment, including the date your payment is scheduled to be deposited into your bank account or mailed to you.

The IRS said it also does plan to mail a letter to a taxpayer’s last known address within 15 days after sending the payment. The letter will contain information on when the payment was made and how to report it if the check wasn’t received.

We’ll be checking the IRS’s dedicated coronavirus page for more details over the coming weeks, and will also update this story with new information once the IRS launches the tool.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about the new federal tax filing extension. For more on the stimulus checks, here’s how best to use your stimulus check and how to avoid being scammed. Here’s everything you need to know about coronavirus and unemployment.

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