The IRS introduced the Get My Payment tool in mid April to allow Americans to provide their US bank details and so receive a stimulus check by direct deposit rather than a mailed check.
The tool is applicable for Americans who haven’t provided their US bank details in their 2018 or 2019 tax returns, and it is particularly useful for the many expats who may not want to rely on their local postal system to receive their Stimulus Payment.
Update – the IRS has announced that eligible Americans must provide their bank details by Wednesday 13th May, otherwise they will receive their stimulus payment check by mail. Read on to find out more…
Stimulus Payments for expats
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, passed in May to provide relief to Americans affected by the COVID outbreak, includes a one-time Stimulus Payment for qualifying expats.
To be eligible, expats must earn under $99,000 ($198,000 for married couples filing jointly, where both have a US social security number), and have filed either their 2018 or 2019 US taxes.
All Americans are required to file US taxes, including those who live abroad.
The Stimulus Payments are worth up to $1,200 per adult, plus $500 per dependent child under the age of 17 with a US social security number.
Stimulus Payments are paid automatically, either to a US bank account if one was provided on expats’ 2019 or 2018 tax return, or in the form of a mailed check.
Which expats should use the Get My Payment tool?
The IRS launched the Get My Payment tool in mid April so that Americans who haven’t provided US bank details can provide them to avoid a check being mailed.
The tool should only be used by expats who have filed their 2018 or 2019 taxes. Those who haven’t should seek advice to ensure that they achieve compliance through an amnesty program, rather than just filing a 2019 return having missed previous years, so that they don’t risk facing penalties and back taxes.
The Get My Payment tool also lets expats know whether their Stimulus Payment has been sent, or when it is due to be sent.
Instructions for expats using the Get My Payment Tool
Quite a lot of expats have been experiencing issues with the Get My Payment Tool, and some tips for troubleshooting are covered below. When the tool is working though, it works as follows.
Go to https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment, and click the ‘Get My Payment’ button.
You will see the following screen. Enter your social security number, date of birth, street address and zip code, and click continue.
On the next screen, click ‘Enter Bank Information’.
The final screen asks for your some information from your last tax return, and your US bank details. (Stimulus Payments can only be deposited into a US based bank account). Click ‘Submit’ to finish after entering the information.
Troubleshooting and tips
1 – If Get My Payment isn’t recognizing your address, try with abbreviations, rather than without the abbreviations even if that is how it appeared on the return. The system seems to prefer abbreviated words, such as “St” instead of “Street” or “E” instead of “East”. Some people have found that switching around their street and house number has helped. Alternatively, try using only CAPITAL LETTERS.
2 – If your inputs are unsuccessful, don’t try again because you’ll get locked out for 24 hours with too many attempts
3 – If you didn’t have a balance due or refund owed on the 2018 or 2019 return, select “I received a refund” and put 0 as the refund amount.
Expats who have any questions about their US tax filing almost always benefit from seeking advice from a US expat tax specialist, who will ensure that they file in the most beneficial way possible given their individual situation.