A1. The CARES Act limited offsets of the first Economic Impact Payment to past-due child support. No other federal or state debts that normally offset your tax refunds reduced the first payment. Nevertheless, tax refunds paid under the Internal Revenue Code, including the first Economic Impact Payment, are not protected from federal or state offsets or from garnishment by creditors once the proceeds are deposited into an individual’s bank account.

A2. Your first payment was offset if you owed past-due child support.

If your payment was offset to pay your spouse’s past-due child support, you don’t need to take any action to receive your portion of it.  

Most payments that were offset for a spouse’s debt were reissued to the non-liable spouse by the end of November 2020.  The IRS is still working to issue to the non-liable spouse their portion of the payment. If you still have not received your portion of the payment, that was offset by your spouse’s past-due child support and you are ready to file a 2020 tax return, you should go ahead and file. You need to complete the RRC worksheet as though you received your portion of the joint payment, even though it was offset.

    A3. If you received a direct deposit of your refund based on your 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if you haven’t filed your 2019 tax return), the IRS sent your first payment to the bank account provided on the most recent tax return. If you filed a Form 8888, Allocation of Refund, with your tax return to split your refund into multiple accounts, your payment was deposited to the first bank account listed. You cannot change your account information.

    If you filed your 2019 or 2018 tax return but did not receive your refund by direct deposit, your first payment was mailed to the address we had on file even if you  received Social Security, Railroad Retirement or Veterans Affairs benefits by direct deposit. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS).

    A4. In general, if the account is closed or no longer active, the bank returns the deposit and you may have been issued a check mailed to the address we have on file for you. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS).

    If the IRS received the payment back from the bank after December 31, 2020 a check was not issued to you.  You will need to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.

    As required by law and for security reasons, a letter about the first payment was mailed to each recipient’s last known address within 15 days after the first payment was made. The letter provided information about the first payment.

    A5. No, the IRS did not send the first payments to accounts used to make a payment to the IRS. If we did not have bank information for you, your first payment was mailed to the address we had on file for you.

    A6. You can find this information on one of your checks, through your online banking applications, or by contacting your financial institution directly. Make sure to enter the routing number, account number, and account type (checking or savings) correctly.

    A7. We mailed your first payment to the address we have on file for you. This is generally the address on your most recent tax return or as updated through the United States Postal Service (USPS). Your first payment was made either by check or, in more limited situations, by a prepaid debit card.  If you received a debit card and have any questions regarding how to use the card please go to EIPcard.com for more information.

    A8. If your first Economic Impact Payment could not be delivered to you for any reason and is returned to the IRS, the first payment was not reissued.  Don’t file an address change to update the address. Instead, you’ll need to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return if eligible. Your address will automatically be updated with the new address you enter on your 2020 return.

    A9. Your bank account information was obtained from the most recently filed tax return or from our Get My Payment tool or the 2019 Non-Filers application if you provided the information through it.

    If you haven’t filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and you received SSA, RRB or VA benefits, your bank account information may have been obtained from SSA or VA. You likely  received your first payment as a direct deposit or by mail, just as you received your benefits. 

    A10. It is possible we did not have the correct bank account information for you, or your financial institution rejected the direct deposit. In either case, your first payment was mailed to the address we had on file for you.

    A11. Most individuals received only one first Economic Impact Payment. However, some individuals received a catch-up first Economic Impact Payment. This is not the same thing as the second Economic Impact Payment.

    If you believe you received more than one first Economic Impact Payment (EIP) make sure that one is not:

    • Your tax year 2019 tax refund or an interest payment on a tax refund. Check the refund amount on your Form 1040 or 1040-SR for tax year 2019.
    • Your unemployment compensation payment. Some states are issuing back payments in a single check or direct deposit.
    • A payment  for someone else in your household. For example, you may have a family member who receives federal benefits or has an adult child who shares your name or bank account may have received their own first Economic Impact Payment.
    • A catch-up first Economic Impact Payment for a qualifying child or injured spouse.
    • A second Economic Impact Payment.

    The IRS mailed a Notice 1444 to each individual who received  the first Economic Impact Payment. The notice includes the recipient’s name and the amount received.

    If, after checking the items above, you believe you received a payment in error, return one of the payments using the instructions in the FAQs about returning an Economic Impact Payment.

    A12: If you are unable to cash the check and must return the payment to the IRS, the payment will be credited back to your account, but cannot be reissued as a direct deposit. If the IRS receives your payment back, you would need to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 tax return, if eligible based on your 2020 filing. The IRS can only deposit to a U.S. affiliated bank account.

    If you don't have a U.S. affiliated bank to cash a check or receive a deposit, before returning the payment, visit the FDIC website to locate a bank or for more information.

    See Returning the Economic Impact Payment for instructions about returning the check.