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By Prachi Bhardwaj
January 8, 2021
Why Is the IRS Mailing Your Second Stimulus Check When It Direct Deposited the First One?
Money; Getty Images; Shutterstock

Just because your first stimulus check went straight to your bank account doesn’t mean your second one will do the same. It could actually come via snail mail instead.

The IRS started sending out the second round of stimulus checks late last month, valued at up to $600 per eligible adult and $600 per qualifying dependent. Over 100 million payments have already been made via direct deposit, and paper checks started getting mailed out on Dec. 30. The agency said the checks would go out to recipients the same way they received their first check, either via direct deposit or by mail.

But some Americans who got their first stimulus payment via direct deposit are discovering that their second payment will come in the mail. Some scratched their heads about it on social media, including a Florida man who tweeted: “My first #stimulus payment came via Direct Deposit. My second came via a paper check in the mail. Strange and mysterious are the ways of the #Government.”

Officially, the IRS has said in an FAQ updated on Dec. 30 that the stimulus would be sent to taxpayers’ accounts on file as of Dec. 22, 2020, and that checks will go out in the mail if your bank rejects the direct deposit because the account is invalid.

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You can check your payment status on the IRS’ Get My Payment tool, which the agency set up to provide recipients updates about the status of both of their stimulus checks, as well as the payment method (direct deposit or mail).

An IRS spokesman didn’t directly answer Money’s query on why some people are getting their stimulus payment via snail mail this time, even if their bank account information hasn’t changed in between the time they filed their 2018 and 2019 taxes.

Snail mail could take up to two weeks longer than a direct deposit, and could come in the form of a physical check or even a debit card. Watch your mail closely and don’t throw away that plain white envelope with red lettering that says, “Not a bill or an advertisement. Important information about your Economic Impact Payment.” Those envelopes contain your stimulus check in the form of a debit card. The return address will be to a P.O. box in Omaha, Neb. and you’ll see a blue and yellow Department of the Treasury seal in the top-left corner. The envelopes with checks in them might be similarly nondescript, so be careful.

Adding to the confusion, a discrepancy with tax preparation services like TurboTax is leading to incorrect account information for some consumers who used those services, which the IRS says it’s addressing as of Jan. 8.

More from Money:

What Is Metabank, and Why Is It in Charge of Stimulus Check Debit Cards?

What to Do if You Haven’t Received Your Second Stimulus Check Yet

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