The United States IRS does not have my direct deposit information (because I have never given it for a tax refund) or my current mailing address (because I have moved since my last return was filed). I set up mail forwarding with USPS to my current address, but sometimes things fall through the cracks there.

According to the IRS, I should expect a $1,200 check as part of the COVID-19 pandemic stimulus program. The Get My Payment tool is supposed to help people in my situation update or confirm the status of their payment, but there are well known issues with the tool, and I have been unable to access the tool using the allotted 3 daily attempts.

If I don't physically receive my check and never get the money, will I be able to claim the stimulus amount as a tax credit in 2020 (in the way that children born between their household's last tax filing and now will account for a $500 stimulus tax credit in 2020)? How will people in my situation claim their stimulus check?

2 Answers 2


I doubt anybody can answer definitively until later this year when the tax forms are released. With that said, I'm confident the answer will be yes, you can claim a refundable tax credit on your 2020 taxes in your scenario. As you mention, some people will receive an extra $500 due to a child being born. Others whose incomes drop in 2020 will be entitled to more stimulus than they initially received. There will need to be a form to reconcile these differences.

Take a look at 2009 Schedule M for the Making Work Pay tax credit. Line 10 asks if you received a stimulus payment. Presumably the 2020 stimulus payments will be handled similarly. If you never received your check, you can mark no, enter $0, and receive the full amount when you file your taxes. The IRS will verify this, and as long as your check was never deposited, everything should work out fine.


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Yes. See line 30 of the 1040. The payment was based on income in 2018, or 2019 if one filed already. If the 2020 return shows a lower income, any money owed to the taxpayer will reconcile here. Same for those who did not receive a check for reasons such as yours. (Note, if 2020 income was higher, no money is clawed back, whatever was received so far is not at risk.)

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