American expats are afraid they won't get their stimulus checks because the IRS won't accept foreign addresses or non-US bank accounts
- A tool on the
IRSwebsite that is meant to collect direct-deposit information to speed up stimulus payments isn't working for some US citizens living abroad.
- The IRS "Get My Payment" tool asks for the taxpayer's address, but won't accept a foreign ZIP code, preventing them from moving to the next step to input bank information.
- Even so, you can only enter US bank information. The IRS isn't sending payments to non-US banks.
- The IRS will mail the
stimulus checkif a person doesn't have direct deposit, but postal services in some countries aren't operating due to the pandemic.
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Gwendolyn Rodriguez, an English teacher and translator, lives in Guatemala but pays United States income taxes.
Her income and filing status qualify her for a stimulus check under the CARES Act, but she's worried she'll never see the money. That's because a technical quirk in the IRS economic impact payment tool is preventing
If the IRS doesn't have a person's bank info, it will send their stimulus check by mail to the address on their most recent tax return or US Postal Service change-of-address form. Rodriguez says her local mail service is wholly unreliable.
The IRS tools for stimulus payments have been fraught with issues since launching around April 13, though there has been at least one technological update. Despite the hiccups, President Donald Trump tweeted on April 30 that "over 120 million" payments had been sent to Americans.
The IRS won't send stimulus payments to non-US banksRodriguez is not the only American expat hitting a roadblock. Others who are using a separate IRS tool built for nonfilers are able to get past the foreign address step, but can't enter non-US bank information, according to a letter Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada sent to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig on April 23.
The IRS doesn't usually send refunds or other deposits to non-US bank accounts, according to its website, and it doesn't appear to make an exception for the
On May 6, Carmelan Polce of Democrats Abroad, the official arm of the Democratic Party for US citizens who live overseas, wrote that some expats who had provided the IRS with their direct deposit for US banks on tax returns have received their stimulus payments and others were getting theirs by mail, but many were still caught in an in-between stage.
Titus' office said in a statement to Business Insider that the IRS is aware of the technical issues, but hasn't addressed it formally or offered a solution."US citizens living abroad are eligible to receive direct payments, but the IRS has taken too long to ensure that they can access the relief they deserve," Titus said. "These constituents are too often ignored and I will keep pushing the IRS to get this fixed."Advertisement
Business Insider reached out to the Treasury Department for comment.
- Read more on managing your money in this tumultuous time:
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- If you've been financially impacted by the coronavirus, you may be able to pause payments on these 8 bills
- How to get a stimulus check from the US government, which could pay up to $1,200 if you qualify
- In response to the coronavirus, credit card issuers like Amex and Capital One are letting customers skip payments without interest and more