Stimulus Normal, All Fuqqed Up
The White House Excuse Machine will have to run overtime this week, since it turns out that a lot of people haven't been getting their Donald Trump Signature Edition coronavirus relief payments on time, thanks to a variety of glitches, as the Washington Post reports. But not to worry! It's only millions of Americans, and at some point they'll probably get the payments, eventually. The problems range from no checks at all for people who filed their taxes using big tax-prep companies (which are evil to start with but in this case, only partly to blame), to some parents receiving their own stimulus payments, but not the $500 per child payment they're entitled to. And to add to the fun, the IRS "Get My Payment" website, where people are supposed to be able to check the status of their payments, often turns out to be useless for lots of people, returning only a "Payment Status Not Available" message.
We figure it's almost certainly all Barack Obama's fault. Or maybe Deep State operatives who sabotaged the stimulus payments to make Trump look bad.
These particular glitches, we should point out, are all affecting a portion of the 80 million folks who were supposed to have their stimulus payments sent by direct deposit to their bank accounts by Wednesday as part of the "Economic Impact Payment" program.
Others will have to wait and find out how the administration screws up for them! People who receive Social Security are supposed to get their payments by direct deposit later in April, unless they play the lute, own more than two Angora goats, or have been convicted of practicing iambic pentameter without a license. Folks for whom the government doesn't have banking information will receive paper checks between now and September, with a slight delay for the first batch so Donald J. Trump's name can appear on the checks. At least the paper checks are slated to go out to people with the lowest incomes first.
The Post identified several categories of glitches with the direct deposit payments, and even manages to explain what went wrong in several cases.
Tax Prep Travails
Millions of people didn't get a direct deposit this week if they paid their 2019 taxes through big tax prep companies like TurboTax, H&R Block, Jackson-Hewitt, or Big Jim's Friendly Tax Prep and Live Bait. For customers who chose to receive an "advance refund" or applied the cost of their tax prep to their refund, no stimulus payment arrived. That's because of a fun little trick the companies use to handle those customers' refunds:
Up to 21 million tax filers could be affected, said consumer law expert Vijay Raghavan, because the IRS does not have these people's direct deposit information on file [...]
The reason is that tax preparation companies received these people's tax refund first, deducted their fees and then distributed the remaining refund to the customers. Because of that, the IRS had a "temporary bank account" on file that the tax preparer created for the 2019 tax season, Raghavan said.
The IRS is aware of the problem, a spokesman said.
The Post details the runaround encountered by one California couple who had been expecting $3,400 in payments for themselves and their two kids. But since they got their tax refund on an H&R Block debit card, less the preparation fees, the IRS didn't have the couple's actual bank information. H&R Block's website only said the company was waiting for guidance from the IRS, and the poor guy couldn't reach anyone on the phone. Eventually, he used the IRS site, where he was given the option to enter their bank account information, so the couple's check deposit should be processed soon.
A whole bunch of people who were expecting $500 per child under 17 received either no child payment at all, or less money than they should have. For instance, one WaPo reader in Kentucky only received an extra $500 over her own $1200 payment, even though she has 3 kids younger than 15, and claimed 'em all on her 2019 return.
That particular glitch appears to be happening to a particular group of people receiving certain government benefits. We'll copy over the explanation on the off chance this applies to you, because we're helpy that way:
Individuals who receive Social Security retirement, survivors or disability (Social Security Disability Insurance) benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits will automatically receive the $1,200 stimulus payment if they are eligible. The IRS announced it has added to this group Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients. The automatic payments for SSI recipients will go out no later than early May, according to the agency statement.
However, the IRS says if you fall into one of those categories and have children under 17, you have to use the non-filers tool at IRS.gov to claim the $500 payment per child. You'll need a valid Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number for each of your dependents.
Also, to avoid the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing, don't forget to run outside, turn around three times, and spit. Or curse. Maybe both.
WHAR MONEY? Glitches
Some people trying to check the status of their stimulus payments can't actually learn a darned thing with the IRS's WHAR MONEY site. Here are the reasons that might happen, according to the IRS:
- You aren't eligible for a payment.
- Your payment is based on your status as a Social Security, disability or Railroad Retirement beneficiary. In this case, the IRS will use your SSA or RRB Form 1099 payment information. Your payment information isn't available on the Get My Payment tool.
- You have not filed a 2018 or 2019 federal tax return.
- You filed your 2019 return, but it hasn't been fully processed.
- You used the non-filers tool, but the information you entered is still being processed.
- There's a problem verifying your identity when answering the security questions.
- Someone is at the door;
- No one is at the door;
- Another dog, anywhere in the universe, is barking;
- None of the above.
WHAR MONEY? LOCKOUT
The IRS cleverly designed its WHAR MONEY? site to lock out any computer address that tries too many times in a day to access the site, which is supposed to prevent fraud, but also causes headaches for people trying to submit their direct deposit information to the IRS so they can say THAR MONEY!
One Maryland couple, Andrea Tasan and her hubs, paid their 2018 and 2019 taxes, but since they'd applied part of their refund to their tax prep fees, the IRS didn't have their bank information. But then their attempts to figure out what to do looked mighty suspicious to the WHAR MONEY tool, which first said Tasan's information didn't match the IRS's records.
They tried again using their adjusted gross income and refund amounts for their 2018 return. Again they were told the information doesn't match IRS records. The system then locked them out because they made "too many attempts" to access the tool.
They now have to wait a day to try again. The IRS is also preventing people from changing the bank account information already on file as a measure to prevent fraud.
If You Paid Zero You Are Nothing, Nothing!
A final gltch only applies to those Goldilockses who neither paid anything in taxes nor were owed refunds. Somehow, that made the IRS computers decide you're a nonentity, since nobody rides for free, nobody gets it like they want it to be, nobody hands you any guarantee. NOBODY. No, typing a zero didn't help, either.
"I could not give an affirmative answer to any of these questions since I owed no tax and did not receive a refund," one reader wrote. "Submitting the form returned an error so I tried again and answered 'yes' to owing tax and 'zero' to the amount. Error again."
"We are aware of the problem and are checking into it," IRS spokesman Eric Smith said.
We're sure the IRS and Treasury will get this all worked out eventually, and that it will ultimately be determined to be the fault of an intelligent woman reporter from a major news outlet who asks Donald Trump when the errors will be resolved.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.