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By Brad Tuttle
Updated: April 27, 2020 7:30 AM ET | Originally published: April 23, 2020
Money

The Internet is full people complaining about the "Payment Status Not Available" messages they see while trying to track their stimulus checks at the IRS's Get My Payment app.

Their frustrations could kick into an even higher gear during some limited hours when the app doesn't work at all. Get My Payment outages are planned for parts of three consecutive days, starting on Thursday, April 23.

A new message at the top of the IRS Get My Payment page says that the app will be out of service from 10 p.m. until roughly 1 a.m. on April 23. Get My Payment will also unavailable during these same late-night hours on Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25.

[UPDATE: The IRS announced in a press release on April 26 that "significant enhancements" for the Get My Payment tool would "deliver an improved and smoother experience for Americans eligible to receive Economic Impact Payments." The IRS did not state what specific enhancements had been made during the app's outage, nor is it clear if the app will now work for all users.

"These further enhancements will help even more taxpayers," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in the statement. "We urge people who haven’t received a payment date yet to visit Get My Payment again for the latest information. IRS teams worked long hours to deliver Get My Payment in record time, and we will continue to make improvements to help Americans."]

Why will Get My Payment be out of service? The IRS says it is using these hours for "planned maintenance" of the app.

Why Does the Get My Payment Not Work?

It is unclear what work will be done on the Get My Payment app during the outages. The IRS was scheduled to host a webinar on Economic Impact Payments, otherwise known as stimulus checks, on the afternoon of April 23, but it was postponed and hasn't been rescheduled.

Since the app went live on April 15, people have turned to Twitter and social media to vent about problems preventing them from using Get My Payment for its two main purposes: tracking your stimulus check payments and adding your bank direct deposit info to get the fastest payment possible.

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You've probably heard all about these payments. But if you're somehow unfamiliar, these stimulus check payments are intended to provide relief to Americans during the coronavirus crisis, giving up to $1,200 per eligible adult and $500 per child under age 17, and many people have been desperate to receive their checks. The first payments arrived in recipients' bank accounts via direct deposit around April 15, and the first round of paper check payments is being sent this week. The IRS says that it sent out 88 million stimulus payments to taxpayers as of April 17, and it estimates a total of 150 million payments will be delivered in the end.

Get My Payment users have griped about a wide range of glitches with the IRS tool, including one that apparently won't let you get a status update if you received no refund and made no payment on your most recent tax return. Why is this a problem? The theory is the app doesn't allow users to enter "0" in the corresponding part of the form. You might see an "error" message for this reason, or because your security information doesn't match what the IRS has on file, among other frustrating scenarios.

How and When to Use the Get My Payment App

The Get My Payment outages should not cause trouble for most users. As the IRS says on the Get My Payment FAQ page, payment status updates "are made no more than once per day."

There is no need to check the app more than once in the same day. In fact, if you try to use the app too frequently, you'll see a "Please Try Again Later" message and be locked out of accessing Get My Payment for 24 hours.

If you do want to use Get My Payment on the days when there are planned service outages, be sure to log on well before 10 p.m. ET, when the app goes out of commission.

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