I moved during the pandemic. Will my stimulus check find me?

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of Americans continued to move around the country in 2020. Aside from packing up your life and throwing it into a van, you also have the laborious task of changing your address on all the many important on and offline accounts we’ve all opened throughout the years – including banks, utilities, insurers, and that’s before we even think about telling family and friends.

And don’t forget about the state and federal government – especially important for the 20 million people who haven’t given their direct deposit details to the IRS and are set to receive a check or prepaid debit card in the mail this week as part of the most recent stimulus package.

Approximately 8.9 million Americans moved over the last year, with most heading West and South, according to a January poll by United Van Lines, one of the country’s largest moving companies. In many cases the pandemic influenced and hastened the migration and saw a mass exodus from major cities like New York, Newark and Chicago. Southern states were overwhelmingly the destination of choice. The top 10 destinations were the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida and Arkansas.  

As part of the most recent migration, millions of young Americans also moved home with their parents, exceeding Great Depression era figures, according to a poll taken in the first 6 months of the pandemic by Pew Research. 

But with all this moving around — amid high unemployment, illness and death — you might not have remembered to tell the U.S. Postal Service or the IRS that you’ve moved and are wondering how you’re going to get that all-important stimulus check.

Do not fear, there is a way to get your hands on the cash.

Firstly, head to the USPS website and have your mail forwarded to your new address. There you’ll find a self-explanatory form and be asked to pay the $1.05 fee. Once that’s done, you’ll receive a confirmation email. You’ll also receive a letter and welcome kit in the mail at your new address. But it could take up to two weeks before your mail starts arriving, according to the USPS.

Now here’s the big one: the IRS.

Currently the IRS is using addresses filed on your 2019 and 2020 tax returns. If you’ve yet to file 2020 and are about to file 2021, use your new address and it will automatically be updated. If you haven’t received any or all of the three stimulus checks, you can use their value as what’s known as a Recovery Rebate Credit. For more information on those and how to claim it, you can visit the IRS website for simple instructions.

Alternatively, if you recently changed addresses with the IRS and USPS and just want to check on the status of your stimulus payment, you can use the IRS tracking tool.

But if you already filed those taxes and then subsequently moved, you’ll need to fill out a form to let the IRS know. That form is here. You can also let the IRS know in writing, being sure to include your full name, your old and new addresses, your Social Security number, individual taxpayer identification number or employer identification number and your signature. You can also do this over the phone. The IRS says it could take 4-6 weeks to change your address. 

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