The second round of stimulus checks are being distributed to qualifying Santa Barbara residents, but they may arrive in a different form than the payments issued last spring.

In December, Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief package that includes $600 Economic Impact Payments to certain residents. These payments may come in the form of a direct deposit, check, or pre-paid Visa debit card.

If you received a direct deposit of your refund for a 2019 or 2018 tax return, the Internal Revenue Service will send the payment to the bank account provided on the most recent tax return.

If your tax return refund was split into multiple accounts, the payment will be deposited into the first bank account listed.

If you did not receive a tax return refund by direct deposit, or the bank account on the return is no longer active, the payment will be mailed via check or pre-paid debit card to the address on file.

Some residents who received a mailed check last spring might receive a pre-paid debit card this time around.

If you do not receive your $600 direct payments via your bank account, make sure to check your mail. Many payments will be mailed as a debit card in a plain envelope with the Treasury seal and “Economic Impact Payment Card” on the label.

— Rep. Salud Carbajal (@RepCarbajal) January 15, 2021

The cards will arrive in a white envelope that states “Not a bill or an advertisement. Important information about your Economic Impact Payment,” and prominently displays the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal.

The card will show the Visa logo on the front and the issuing bank name, MetaBank, on the back.

The IRS will mail a letter, titled “Notice 1444,” to the last known address on file within 15 days of the payment date, providing information on how the payment was made.

If your address is different than the address listed on your most recent tax return, and the mailed payment is returned to the IRS, it will not be reissued.

In this situation, residents will need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax return if eligible. The address will automatically be updated with the new address entered.

Residents can use the Get My Payment application to check in on the status of their payments. This tool shows the status of the first and second round of payments, and also includes the date of the payment and the payment method. 

Updates on payment status are made no more than once per day, and usually at night, according to the IRS.

On the application, a user may receive the message of “payment status,” which means the payment has been processed. The message will include the payment date and how it was issued.

If the “status not available” message pops up, you were either not eligible, or were eligible but the IRS was unable to issue a second payment.

The “need more information” message means you are eligible for a payment, but the IRS doesn’t have the direct deposit information to send the deposit electronically.

The IRS is no longer accepting bank information or address changes for the payments, and residents will need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax return.

If a payment was received but was lost, stolen, or destroyed, residents can request a payment trace. If the check was not cashed, the IRS will issue a replacement. 

If the refund was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service will send a claim package that includes a copy of the cashed check. The BFS will then review the claim and the signature on the canceled check before determining whether a replacement check can be issued.

To request a payment trace, call 800.919.9835, or mail a completed Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund form to the Fresno Internal Revenue Service at 5045 E. Butler Avenue, or fax it to 855.344.9993.

If residents did not receive a payment this year, or did not receive the maximum amount, they may also be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return.

The IRS has issued approximately 160 million payments, totaling over $270 billion.

I know $600 isn’t enough & I’ll keep working to get more help for workers & families, on the Central Coast.

Eligible individuals who didn’t receive their 2nd direct payment by today may claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. More information here:

— Rep. Salud Carbajal (@RepCarbajal) January 15, 2021

Noozhawk staff writer Jade Martinez-Pogue can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Jade Martinez-Pogue

Jade Martinez-Pogue, Noozhawk Staff Writer

Noozhawk staff writer Jade Martinez-Pogue can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.