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Tax preparer glitches delay coronavirus stimulus checks

Millions of Americans — especially those who use income tax preparers such as H&R Block and TurboTax — are still waiting for their promised stimulus checks, according to a report Thursday.

While many did find their $1,200 check deposited into their accounts by the IRS on Wednesday, millions of others were greeted with the words “Payment Status Not Available” when they logged on to find out where their money was, the Washington Post reported.

Others got the wrong amount, including many couples who didn’t get the $500 check for their dependent children.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the IRS to get the checks out as quickly as possible to aid struggling families and boost the coronavirus-ravaged economy.

Several million people who filed their taxes with H&R Block, TurboTax and other services, as well as private preparers, couldn’t get their payments because the IRS did not have their banking direct deposit information, the paper reported, citing the Treasury, companies and other experts.

The IRS launched a “Get My Payment” tool on its website Wednesday so people could check on the status of their payments.

But many taxpayers who used it got a message saying “Payment Status Not Available.”

The IRS and Treasury said they knew about the glitches and were trying to fix them.

A Treasury spokeswoman said the IRS processed almost 80 million payments in three weeks, but that’s only a little over half of the 150 million payments expected to go out under the administration’s and Congress’ Economic Impact Payment program.

Customers who use H&R Block, TurboTax and Jackson Hewitt complained on Twitter and to the paper that they didn’t get their checks on Wednesday.

Up to 21 million filers could be affected, consumer law expert Vijay Raghavan said, because the IRS does not have these people’s direct deposit information on file or had the tax prep fees taken out of their refunds.

Economic stimulus checks are prepared for printing at the Philadelphia Financial Center in 2008.Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

Matt Sielen of Chino, Calif., who lost his job, said he was stricken to learn that he would not get the payment on his H&R Block Emerald Card, where he gets his usual refund.

“I’m not happy with H&R Block. I probably won’t be doing business with them ever again,” Sielen said.

Another man said the IRS system couldn’t find the status of his payment — and then locked him out for a full day.

“After long wait times to log in, the system fails to locate the information and after several attempts to retry, it locks you out for 24 hours,” Alfred Nordgren, 59, of Philadelphia, said in an email to NBC News. “Obviously they didn’t test it sufficiently prior to the ‘rushed’ launch!”

Some other Americans say they haven’t gotten their coronavirus stimulus checks because the feds sent the money to the wrong bank accounts.

Several taxpayers tried to check the status of their payments on the IRS website only to discover the agency put the money in accounts they didn’t recognize or no longer use.

“My stimulus got sent to the wrong account and it won’t let me update it despite you guys saying we could. I guess I’ll just get evicted,” one Twitter user griped to the IRS on Wednesday.

“You sent my check to the wrong account number!” Lydia Cooper tweeted Thursday morning. “I’ve had my account for years. Bank says there’s nothing they can do.”

The problem appeared when people logged into the IRS’ “Get My Payment” app, which encountered glitches Wednesday as millions of Americans waited for their share of the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill Congress passed last month.

The app told some taxpayers their money had been deposited and displayed the last four digits of the account number where it was sent. But some users said the account number was outdated or just plain wrong.

Others who don’t have bank accounts or direct deposit might also see their paper checks later than expected after the Treasury Department ordered the IRS to add President Trump’s name to them, reportedly causing delays, which Treasury has denied.

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