By Chand Bellur
April 16, 2020 at 2:54 p.m. PT
- Most Americans expect stimulus checks of up to $1200 delivered via electronic wire transfer.
- A defect in the payment system prevents TurboTax and H&R Block tax filers from receiving the stimulus payment.
- The issue should be solved soon; however, some will be mailed paper checks.
COVID-19 Derails U.S. Economy
The COVID-19 pandemic, and its resulting stay-at-home orders, shuttered businesses across the globe. Some governments funded enterprises, as long as they kept employees on the payroll. In essence, they froze the economy. When stay-at-home orders rescind, everyone goes back to work; however, they never missed a paycheck.
The United States decided to do something different. Instead of paying people to stay home and do nothing, they let workers lose their jobs. Corporations and banks receive massive bailouts, while the average American gets a $1200 check. The payment intends to spur consumer activity; however, most have yet to receive funds. Thousands of Americans are waiting in long food bank lines, too poor to afford necessities.
Resulting U.S. policy created a historic economic downturn. Even the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Spanish Flu Pandemic didn’t result in such rapid elimination of employment. In the past three weeks, 17 million Americans filed for unemployment. Unemployment may peak at 20%, just shy of the 24.9% level during the Great Depression. With higher numbers of self-employed individuals, however, the real figure could be much worse. Let’s not forget the masses of unaccounted unemployed reflected by the low labor participation rate.
Mass unemployment is something one would expect in an impoverished nation. By many metrics, the U.S. became a developing nation some time ago.
Defect Holds Up Stimulus Payment for TurboTax and H&R Block Users
Software makes it much easier to file taxes. Before TurboTax and its competitors, taxes were a chore. Today, most people can breeze through their taxes in an afternoon, thanks to automation.
Unfortunately, when you pay taxes or receive refunds, your banking information is entered into the software. If you received a refund advance or used your banking information to purchase additional services, the IRS doesn’t have your account information. Instead, the software uses a temporary bank account to process the transaction.
The problem affects almost 21 million Americans. If you used TurboTax, H&R Block, or other tax preparation software and have yet to receive payment, the defect is likely to blame. The IRS found a solution to the problem, so most will eventually receive direct deposits.
Anyone can check the status of their COVID-19 stimulus payment. If your status is “Payment Status Not Available”, it’s possible your payment’s delay is due to the defect.