If you don’t file taxes, the IRS could still owe you a $1,200 stimulus check. How to claim it

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The IRS this month will contact 9 million Americans who may still be owed stimulus money.


Angela Lang/CNET

America is still waiting for Washington lawmakers to strike a deal on a new coronavirus relief package and a second stimulus check to help weather the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But it turns out that as many as 9 million people still don’t have their original stimulus check– and may not even know they’re eligible to receive one. 

These are people who didn’t file a federal income tax return in either 2018 or 2019. To receive checks, these nonfilers need to register to claim their money. The IRS is mailing notification letters with instructions, but we’ll tell you what you need to know and how to get started. (Some people with dependents are also missing portions of their check and have until Sept. 30 to file for it.)

The IRS is estimated to have sent 160 million payments as of August through direct deposits, mailed checks and prepaid EIP debit cards. Here’s what you need to know about when a second stimulus check might come to eligible Americans and how much money you could get. You can also use our calculator tool to estimate your sum. These are the six most important things to know about stimulus checks.

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What’s the deadline to request your original payment?

Those using the Non-Filers tool need to request their payment by Oct. 15. Afterward, the only way to claim a payment will be to file a federal income tax return.


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Which form will the IRS send and what does it look like?

The IRS will start sending the letters —  which it calls IRS Notice 1444-A — around Sept. 24 to those who may be eligible. The agency said the letter will be mailed from an IRS address. You can see a copy of the letter here (PDF) in English and Spanish.

How do you claim your payment?

If you weren’t required to file a federal tax return, the letter directs you to use the IRS’ Non-Filers tool, where you can provide some information to claim your payment.

If you were required to file your federal taxes but didn’t, the letter directs you to electronically file your 2019 tax return immediately and then use the IRS’ Get My Payment to check the status of your payment.

For more on economic impact payments have tips on how best to use your stimulus check, how to avoid being scammed and how young you can be and still get your own stimulus check money. Again, you can use our stimulus check calculator to get an estimate for how much you might receive.