A report by the Government Accountability Office says the IRS still hasn’t sent about 9 million Americans their $1200 stimulus payments because there is no updated list of individuals who are eligible but haven’t received a payment.
Congress authorized the checks in the $2 trillion pandemic relief bill passed in March. The overwhelming majority of taxpayers have already gotten their checks, but 9 million people who don’t file tax returns and don’t receive Social Security have yet to see any money.
“Without an updated estimate, Treasury, IRS, other federal agencies, and IRS’s outreach partners are limited in their ability to appropriately scale and target outreach and communication efforts to individuals who may be eligible for a payment,” the GAO said in a report.
So the IRS has neglected, since April, to update the list of people who haven’t gotten a check.
Treasury estimated in April that 30 million individuals who typically are not required to file a tax return are eligible for a payment, including 14 million who don’t receive certain federal benefits. The IRS has indicated that 5.3 million people have used the IRS’s web tool for non-filers to claim their payments through July 31. As a result, there could be at least 8.7 million people who are eligible for a payment but haven’t gotten one, the GAO said.
The GAO said that Treasury and the IRS haven’t updated their April estimates to account for new data. Treasury officials told the GAO that updated estimates wouldn’t provide the detailed information it needs to conduct outreach, and that the department is examining information that third parties use to notify government agencies about taxable payments in order to identify people who have yet to get their payment.
It’s nearly October and the IRS hasn’t updated the information since April? It’s very likely that those who have not received a stimulus check need it the most.
The GAO expressed concerns that the lack of an updated estimate could hinder the efforts to reach out to those who haven’t yet claimed their payments, putting those people in danger of losing out on relief.
“Representatives from two organizations that are conducting outreach on the payments said that an estimate of the number of individuals who still need the payment, particularly if matched with ZIP code data, could help them to focus outreach and communication resources,” the GAO wrote. “One IRS outreach partner also said eligible recipients who have not yet filed for the payment are outside the tax system, likely to be very low-income, and could most use the payment.”
I’m sure the pandemic had something to do with the delay, but for the IRS, it’s just another indication of the sloppiness and incompetence that costs the Treasury Department billions every year.