Clyburn Urges Treasury and IRS to Heed “Lessons Learned” and Ensure Fast, Equitable Distribution of Stimulus Checks
Washington, D.C. (August 3, 2020) — Today, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, issued the following statement following up on the Select Subcommittee’s July 8 letter to the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service asking why millions of Americans are still waiting to receive their Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) authorized under the CARES Act.
“The Chairman stated: “I am concerned that an estimated 12 million people are still waiting for their stimulus checks, and many could be waiting for months. Treasury has failed to identify the actual number of Americans still waiting for their check, but they reported to the Select Subcommittee that IRS could still be issuing these checks through the end of the year—and that some people may need to wait until they file their taxes next year. Many of the Americans still waiting for stimulus payments are low-income or homeless individuals who have an acute need for assistance during the pandemic. I urge Treasury to redouble its efforts to expedite these payments.”
“The Select Subcommittee has also identified other problems with how Treasury distributed stimulus checks—including significant numbers of debit cards that were discarded or left unopened and glitches that left some people who received stimulus checks unable to receive EITC payments that families rely on.”
“As Congress considers a much-needed second round of stimulus checks, Treasury and IRS need to finish sending any outstanding EIPs and fix their distribution process to ensure any future stimulus checks are distributed quickly to all Americans, especially those who need them most.”
In a recent letter to the Select Subcommittee, Treasury provided the following information:
- Nearly twenty percent of taxpayers who received a debit card still have not activated their card, months after receiving it. Press reports have indicated that some recipients mistook debit cards for a fraud or scam, and Treasury acknowledged that the debit cards were mailed in a way that was “unfamiliar” to some recipients, resulting in some debit cards being “inadvertently discarded.” If there are additional stimulus checks, Treasury said it “will take additional steps to minimize the possibility that EIP Cards are discarded.”
- IRS’s online tool for non-filers to claim their stimulus checks made it harder for some taxpayers to receive another important tax benefit—the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Families may have unknowingly postponed or blocked their EITC payment when they claimed their stimulus payment online through the online tool, called “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here.” To fix the problem, Treasury explained to the Subcommittee that the burden falls on recipients to “mail a return” as either an amended or superseded return, but it indicated it does not “have sufficient information to report the number of EITC claimants” who have been caught in this trap.
Click here to read the Select Subcommittee’s July 8, 2020, letter to Treasury and IRS.
Click here to read the response letter from the Department of Treasury to Chairman Clyburn.