COVID-19 Town Hall: Stimulus check updates and scams
KOMU 8's Emily Spain talked with Marco Pantoja about questions regarding the stimulus checks sent out by the federal government.
Pantoja is an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) and works with MU's Extension Office as a financial instructor.
He discussed why some people have not yet received their checks and what you should do if you receive the wrong amount.
Pantoja also talked about how to protect yourself from stimulus check scams.
Check out his responses below.
Q: Why have some people still not received their stimulus checks?
"The payments are sent through the tax system with the information they have available. The main reason for delay would be something wrong with the direct deposit information the IRS has on file for you. So, the IRS may not have direct deposit information for you if you owe taxes, opted for a mailed refund check, if you didn't file taxes for the past couple of years, or you use a third party service for your refund. For example, one major delay reported by low income families was due to the use of refund anticipation loans or transfer programs. In those cases, the IRS has the account information of the tax preparation company, and not the taxpayer, and that caused their payment to be returned and replaced with a check."
Q: What should you do if you receive the wrong amount on your stimulus check?
"The IRS is sending out letters to let everyone know how their payment was calculated. So, it's important for people to read those letters and make sure they understand how their family size and the resulting payment was calculated. If someone received less than they expected, unfortunately, there's no process to get the remaining amount this year. However, they can get any amount owed when they file their taxes next year."
Q: Is there a chance there will be another stimulus check?
"Many are suggesting that the economic recovery will take longer than expected. If the recession does linger, then Congress may pass similar legislation to help families and businesses weather the downturn. My suggestion is for people to reach out to their representatives, and let them know what help they need and what they would hope to see in future stimulus bills."
Q: What can people do to protect themselves from stimulus check scams?
"There's four main things people should keep in mind to avoid stimulus scams. The first is the IRS will never call you, text message or email you. Instead, they will send a letter. The second is the IRS will also never ask for payments in the form of cash, gift card or wire transfer. Third, you also don't have to pay any fees to receive your stimulus money. So, anyone trying to charge you for access to your stimulus check is trying to scam you. And lastly, always start with the IRS website. If you want to communicate, find more information or make payments, go to irs.gov."