Looks like the IRS gave my stimulus payment to someone else. Is there anything I can do about it?

While everyone has been posting to social media about their stimulus payments getting deposited and lots of hookers-and-blow level spending, I’ve been watching my bank account and seeing bupkis.

So today I went to the IRS’s “where’s my refund” page and after following the links and giving them my particulars, it takes me to a page that says something to the effect of “your first stimulus payment was deposited on April 15, 2020 in the account 12345. Your second stimulus payment was deposited on January 4, 2021 in account 95710.”

I do not have a bank account 95710. I’ve had the same bank account for almost 30 years, number 12345, and the IRS has had that account as their direct deposit info as long as I’ve been e-filing my taxes. The April stimulus was deposited correctly. I have even had another bank account that I can remember. The only thing that has changed is that we have moved, but the IRS does not know that and should make no difference.

So it appears that the IRS picked a random bank account number to transfer my money to. There is, off course, no way to contact them that I can see and their FAQ is worthless. (Or I’m missing something. It does say something about missing payments but applies to the April stimulus.)

So do I have any recourse?

Do you know which bank the 12345 account is? You could contact them first. Although even the number 12345 is awfully sketchy in and of itself.

If you get no satisfaction by any other means, you can make the adjustment when you file your taxes next year. Take a screenshot of their page saying they deposited it to the wrong account, as documentary backup to the adjustment you will make to your reduced tax payment or increased tax refund claim when you file. It doesnt help you in the short term, but it’s a backstop so you know you won’t ultimately lost out.

Every large city has a local office. You can find it here.

That will give you a phone number and the ability to make an appointment. Bring all your paperwork with you. They should be able to help.

The first account, 12345, is my account – the correct one.

The second one, 95710, is not mine. I called the bank to make sure there was nothing weird on their end, and they have no idea – I only have the 12345 account.

It’s possible your identity has been stolen and the IRS was given a different account to send the payment to.

You do realize I gave random account numbers for illustrative purposes, right?

I’m not putting my real account numbers on the SDMB.

The bad news is that it’s very unlikely that this will be resolved quickly, so I hope you are not depending on the stimulus for its actual purpose of short-term stimulus.

The good news is that the IRS is pretty good at fixing mistakes eventually, and they are responsive to letters. I received a statement in the mail about the April payment and it had instructions on how to contact them to report an error, and I expect that the newest one will get the same treatment, it just hasn’t been formalized or sent yet.

So, step one is probably just to wait for the paperwork. Assume that the round-trip time for any written communication is going to be about 6 weeks, although they may resolve this more quickly than standard bespoke tax issues.

Sorry, I misread.

But yeah, go talk to the bank, if you can find which bank it was.

(Looks up from pecking numbers into my phone) Awwww.

My first paper check was stolen from my mailbox but luckily never cashed (I don’t think the mailbox thieves thought things through when they stole a bunch of checks, lol). It went to my old address, the lady who lives there now called the landlord and he told her to put the check back in the mailbox, then he never told me about it - or perhaps he took it himself. After about a week the lady managed to track down my new address (we bought a house a short ways away) and told me what happened; the landlord was adamant that he never saw the check; to pressure him we called the police and they had a chat with him but found nothing. Thankfully because the check wasn’t cashed the IRS happily issued a new check to the correct address once I reached out to them.

Since this involves legal advice, let’s move it from GQ to IMHO.


Contacting the IRS nowadays can be challenging. I had reasonable success - twice - by contacting my local congressman to request help. The first time, I got a response back from the IRS in about 3 weeks. The second time, less than two weeks. Instructions for contacting congressional representatives (i.e., what information you need to include) can be found on each representative’s webpage. Good luck.

Just came in to make this suggestion. Every Congressional office has “casework” staff whose jobs are to help constituents with issues with the federal bureaucracy. I would contact your U.S. Representative and both of your state’s Senators. If you’re not sure who your representative is, you can go to the Find Your Representative page on the U.S. House website.

Call the IRS’s EIP unit. They’re the ones that are handling the payments. Their customer service number is 800-919-9835, and they take calls from 7AM to 7PM local time. Call at 7AM to minimize hold time.

I’ll echo the “call at 7am” bit. I had my first professional call to the IRS last week, and was told by my boss that they probably won’t be able to take your call if you call in the afternoon, but will in the morning. And sure enough, when I called immediately around 2pm, they said to try again tomorrow. I looked up when the line was open, and it said 7 am, but I wasn’t about to get up that early to make a call for work, so I made it right when I got in at 9, and I had a 15-30 minute hold time. I suspect if you call at 7 there will be very few other people trying to call. (I was calling the practitioner line, dedicated to tax professionals seeking assistance for their clients - something you too can get access to if you pay for a CPA.)

If you can’t fix it quickly, you should still be able to claim the credit on your tax return, which is a slight problem if you end up with a refund as they might not honor it because they think they paid you and thus delay your refund, but it at least will start a case file with you claiming you hadn’t been paid before without having to actually connect to someone on the phone. If you still end up owing, I’m not sure what they’d do other than eventually send you a letter proposing a change to your return, and then again you’d have a case file already started in their system.

So. I may have wasted all y’all’s time.

First though, thanks for the replies. I have half a page of notes which still may come in handy.

I checked my account balance today for something unrelated and saw a note on the bottom of the screen informing me that I have a deposit scheduled for Wednesday – from H&R Block. We’ve always used the H&R Block tax software to do our taxes so I’m assuming that the feds sent the stimulus payment to them to send on to us – much like they do whenever we are owed a refund. That explains the different account numbers the IRS used (although I don’t understand why they are apparently doing it through H&R Block this time when they didn’t do so back in April). So if I don’t get the stimulus deposited by Thursday AM I’ll start with a phone call to the IRS’s EIP unit that MrKnowItAll mentioned and then go from there.

Many thanks again. This money wasn’t “it’ll keep us from being evicted” important but times are tight and it’ll be nice to have.

Should I be worried? Mine says they have no information on my second payment because:

  • they don’t have enough information
  • not eligible for a payment

I know I’m eligible and I feel like everyone around me is posting they are getting theirs.

It’s probably too early to panic, but if it doesn’t give you info by Thursday or Friday, you should give them a call.

FYI, apparently this is a (now) know issue