While the country not-so-patiently waits for Congress to approve a second round of stimulus checks, some 9 million Americans will soon open their mailboxes to find surprise letters from the IRS.
The IRS announced Monday that it plans to start contacting people who likely qualify for economic impact payments — also known as stimulus checks — but have not yet received them.
The notices are specifically targeting people who didn't file tax returns in either 2018 or 2019, in most cases because their incomes are low. Formally titled IRS Notice 1444-A, the letters will explain how to claim a stimulus payment using the non-filers tool on IRS.gov.
"We are taking this extra step to help Americans who may not know they could be eligible for this payment or don't know how to register for one," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a news release. "People who aren't required to file a tax return can quickly register on IRS.gov and still get their money this year."
Individuals earning up to $75,000 can expect to receive $1,200 per person, plus $500 for each dependent under age 17.
IRS Letter: How to Get a Stimulus Check Now
The IRS will begin sending the letters on Sept. 24. If you get one, you'll want to pay close attention to the calendar: Non-filers must claim their stimulus checks by Oct. 15 "in order to receive their payment by the end of the year," according to the release. As always, the fastest way to receive a stimulus check is to input your direct deposit information.
Worried about getting ripped off? Here's how to know whether your IRS letter is real. The legit notice will look like this.
Letters will come from "Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service" in Ogden, Utah, and inside, you'll find a message in Spanish and English. The text will remind you about the CARES Act and alert you that "You may need to act to claim your payment." If you need help, it'll also include a phone number for the IRS: 800-919-9835.
That said, Rettig urged people to take action even if they don't get one of these letters. If you suspect you're eligible for a stimulus check but haven't gotten one, check the guidelines at IRS.gov to see what you need to do.
This isn't the first time the IRS has contacted people by mail about their stimulus checks. Earlier this year, the government sent letters to some 160 million Americans after distributing their stimulus checks. The notes, which came on White House letterhead, went out for "security reasons." (They ended up causing some disagreement among politicos because they featured President Donald Trump's signature.)
In May and June, the IRS snail-mailed stimulus check debit cards to people for whom it did not have direct deposit information on file. These letters came from "Money Network Cardholder Services" and left many recipients confused. Several news outlets reported that people threw away the envelopes containing the cards because they seemed like junk mail.