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What to Do If the IRS Says You Got a Stimulus Check, but You Didn't

You can trace the missing payment and get it replaced

spinner image Stack of 100 dollar bills with illustrative coronavirus stimulus payment check and alarm clock to show delay in receiving money
Backyard Productions / Alamy Stock Photo

You got a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) saying that your stimulus payment has been paid. The one problem: You didn't get a stimulus payment. What should you do?

Notice 1444 is what the IRS sends in the mail to confirm that it sent the stimulus payment to you. (They will not call.) The letter should arrive about two weeks after the payment was issued. You can also find out about stimulus payment delivery via the Get My Payment online tool at

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Before you attempt to contact the IRS, make sure you really didn't get the payment. The letter will indicate how the payment was issued. If you have direct deposit, you should check your account and wait at least five days after the scheduled deposit. It may take your bank that long to clear the stimulus payment. If the IRS mailed a check, wait four weeks because it can take a while for things to get through the mail. If you have a forwarding address on file with the post office, you'll need to wait six weeks, and if you have a foreign address, you should wait nine weeks.

How to trace a missing stimulus payment

That's a lot of waiting and, unfortunately, if you didn't get your payment, your waiting probably isn't over. You'll now have to request a payment trace from the IRS. The trace generally takes six weeks, and it could take longer because of staffing shortages caused by the coronavirus.

If you were expecting a check, didn't get one and the IRS determines it was not cashed, the IRS will send you a replacement check. If you find the original check in a stack of junk mail after you request the trace, return the check as soon as possible.

If the refund check was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS), part of the U.S. Treasury Department, will send you a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check. Follow the instructions. BFS will review your claim and the signature on the canceled check before determining whether they can issue you a replacement check.

To start a payment trace, call the IRS toll-free at 800-919-9835. Be forewarned that you may experience long wait times because of limited staffing.

Alternatively, you could also send the IRS a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund. The form is typically used to track down missing tax refunds. Here are tips for filling out the form for your missing stimulus payment:

  • When you submit the form, remember to have both spouses sign it if you're married and filing jointly.
  • Write “EIP” on the top of the form. ("EIP” stands for “economic impact payment,” the official IRS term for what's commonly referred to as a stimulus payment.)
  • Complete Sections I, II and III and answer the refund questions as they relate to your EIP.
  • When completing Number 7 under Section I, check the box for “Individual” as the type of return; enter “2020” as the tax period and leave the date filed blank.

Mail or fax IRS Form 3911, if you live in:

  • Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont

Andover Internal Revenue Service, 310 Lowell St., Andover, MA 01810

Fax: 855-253-3175

  • Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia

Atlanta Internal Revenue Service, 4800 Buford Hwy., Chamblee, GA 30341

Fax: 855-275-8620

  • Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas

Austin Internal Revenue Service, 3651 S. Interregional Hwy 35, Austin, TX 78741

Fax: 855-203-7538

  • New York

Brookhaven Internal Revenue Service, 1040 Waverly Ave., Holtsville, NY 11742

Fax: 855-297-7736

  • Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Fresno Internal Revenue Service, 5045 E. Butler Ave., Fresno, CA 93888

Fax: 855-332-3068

  • Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia

Kansas City Internal Revenue Service, 333 W. Pershing Rd., Kansas City, MO 64108

Fax: 855-344-9993

  • Alabama, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee

Memphis Internal Revenue Service, 5333 Getwell Rd. Memphis, TN 38118

Fax: 855-580-4749

  • District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

Philadelphia Internal Revenue Service: 2970 Market St. Philadelphia, PA 19104

Fax: 855-404-9091

  • A foreign country, U.S. possession or territory, or use an APO or FPO address, or file Form 2555 or 4563, or are a dual-status alien

Austin Internal Revenue Service, 3651 S. Interregional Hwy 35, Austin, TX 7874

Fax: 855-203-7538

Note: Do not send anything other than a Form 3911 to the fax numbers above.

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