WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Still haven’t received your stimulus check? The IRS is adding 3,500 phone representatives to handle a flood of calls from taxpayers waiting for their money from the federal government as part of a massive coronavirus rescue package.
The agency said reps will be available to field questions about the economic impact payments, distributed to millions of Americans as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act approved by Congress to offer financial help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Those who call 800-919-9835 will first hear an automated message with prompts to answer common questions. The IRS said those who need additional help at the end of the message will have the option of speaking to someone over the phone — although several reports this week indicated callers were still unable to reach a live representative.
Despite the added phone operators, the agency said phone assistance will remain limited. It anticipates bringing back additional workers “as state and local advisories permit.”
As of May 18, the IRS had sent about 140 million stimulus checks and anticipates sending more than 150 million payments in total.
The distribution, in which U.S. residents receive one-time direct payments of $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year, has had some hiccups — including an overwhelmed website, payments to deceased taxpayers and money sent to inactive accounts.
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The agency has also issued warnings to consumers about scams related to the novel coronavirus, including text messages, websites and social media posts seeking to obtain money or personal information from those still waiting for their economic impact payment.
“The IRS isn't going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster," IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig said last month, noting that the agency would not be sending surprise emails either.
Many answers to stimulus-related questions are available on the IRS’ Economic Impact Payment website and the agency’s online tool to track the status of payments.
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This story was reported from Cincinnati.