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If you have questions about your coronavirus stimulus check, the IRS says you can finally call — and possibly even talk to a real-life agent over the phone. Key word: possibly.
The IRS announced on Monday, May 18, that it is “starting to add 3,500 phone representatives to answer some of the most common questions about Economic Impact Payments,” which is the official term for the $1,200 recovery rebates provided by the CARES Act.
This is big news for Americans with concerns about their stimulus checks. Over 140 million payments have successfully gone out so far, out of an expected 150 million payments in total, but there have been widespread complaints. Reports abound online of stimulus checks being issued in incorrect amounts, missing dependents, going to the wrong bank accounts, benefitting deceased taxpayers and more.
However, the pandemic shut down many services at the IRS. According to a news release, the agency limited live phone assistance and other services “to protect the public and employees, and in compliance with orders of local health authorities around the country.” Now, it’s slowly opening the phone lines back up.
The IRS still wants you to first consult its frequently asked questions page and Get My Payment tool for information. If those don’t answer your questions, you can call the IRS Economic Impact Payment line at 800-919-9835. (This is the number printed at the bottom of each stimulus check confirmation letter just below President Donald Trump’s signature.)
You’ll get an automated message, but “those who need additional assistance at the conclusion of the message will have the option of talking to a telephone representative,” according to the IRS news release. The IRS also notes that “callers should expect long waits.”
Don’t get too excited — Money was unable to reach a human representative when it tried the IRS phone number after the May 18 announcement. Running through the main menu several times got us nowhere. Dialing 0 in hopes of getting an operator resulted in an error message: “We are unable to process your response. Thank you for calling the Internal Revenue Service.”
The line eventually hung up.
To check on the status of your tax refund or find out more about your 2019 taxes, you can call 800-829-1954 or 800-829-1040 to access assistance. But neither of these have information — or, seemingly, any humans answering the phones — about stimulus checks. Unfortunately, your best hope for rectifying stimulus check errors may be your 2020 tax return.
Despite the announcement about the return of phone representatives, the IRS’s main “Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments” page still says “Do not call,” and that “Most people won’t need to take any action,” in order to get their payments.
Money has reached out to the IRS press office for more information about live staffers on the economic impact payment phone line and will update our story if we get a response.