The IRS stimulus check website is already broken

The lack of an error page is to blame.


The IRS started sending out stimulus checks over the weekend, but the launch of its web portal to help taxpayers track their payment isn’t going smoothly. Many Twitter users (and this writer) are being sent to a “Payment Status Not Available” which is only meant to surface in a few situations.

In the subsequent thread, people claim they aren’t in any of the scenarios the IRS put forth. CNBC reports an overload of the system is likely responsible.

Rush job — The IRS’s Get My Payment tool is meant to help people monitor their payment status and input direct deposit information if necessary. While the website has worked for some, many are reporting a “we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment” message from the IRS. Taxpayers have taken to Twitter to share how they meet the agency’s guidelines to access the tool, and they’re right to be upset.

“What happened is instead of having an error message or a message saying the system is very busy, it just says your information isn’t in here, that was the default,” Luis Garcia, an IRS spokesperson told CNBC, encouraging users to try again later. “But that should be fixed now.”

At the time of writing, it has not been fixed. But the portal is at least doing a better job of communicating its limitations and managing expectations as more people try to use it.


How the website should work — According to the IRS, there are three possible results. The “Payment Status Not Available” message should only come up if a 2018 or 2019 tax return wasn’t filed, or a recently filed return isn’t completely processed.

On the more informative side, users should either see “Payment Status” or “Need More Information.” The latter will allow you to enter your bank account information for direct deposit. The Payment Status page either shows you that your payment has been processed, as well as how and when it’ll be sent, or it tells you you’re eligible for a payment, but it hasn’t been processed yet. In the latter scenario, the information is only updated once a day.