Taxpayers who broke even stuck in coronavirus stimulus check purgatory

An IRS glitch appears to be stopping Americans who broke even on their latest tax returns from speeding up their coronavirus stimulus checks.

Millions of people file federal income tax returns without owing extra money or getting a refund. Yet this group claims the Internal Revenue Service has forgotten to include them in its online tool allowing taxpayers to expedite their chunk of the $2.2 trillion stimulus package through direct deposit.

Unless the glitch is fixed — and fast — they will be stuck waiting for paper checks that could take weeks to arrive, they say.

“It is frustrating that the site seems to work for some and not for others and I don’t really feel like the IRS is offering much explanation,” said Kimmy Smith, a self-employed media marketer in Atlanta.

Smith was one of several people who encountered the problem with the “Get My Payment” tool the IRS launched this week to let people track their payments and ask to have their payments paid electronically instead of by snail mail.

While the vast majority of taxpayers either get a refund or owe money when they file their income taxes, IRS data show nearly 5 million filers last year fell into a third category.

This group of taxpayers say the app told them they were eligible to receive a stimulus payment but that the IRS did not have their direct deposit information. That’s likely because they didn’t have to pay extra taxes or tell the agency where to deposit a refund on their last tax return.

To fix the problem, taxpayers had to fill out a form asking whether they got a refund or owed money on their 2018 or 2019 return, along with the amount they owed or got back. But those who broke even didn’t have an option to select. And when they tried to enter “0” as the amount, the IRS tool said it was having “technical difficulties.”

“I tried four times, and then stopped so that I could avoid being locked out,” said Jade, a 26-year-old medical student in Kansas who asked only to be identified by her first name.

An unemployed Queens resident who identified herself as Alice said she got shut out of the app for 24 hours after trying to fill out the form several times Wednesday. Nothing had changed when she tried again Thursday morning, she said.

“We all should be able to all get what the government offered to us,” Alice, 42, told The Post. “Lots of us could really use that financial help at this time.”

The US Treasury press office referred questions to the IRS’s “economic impact payment information center,” which advises people who have trouble verifying their bank account information to make sure they’re entering the information accurately.

Zack Meher said he wasn’t surprised that so many people were encountering problems with the “Get My Payment” tool because it was rolled out so quickly. He was also unable to submit his bank account info online.

“I’m very fortunate that I’m still employed, and don’t need the money immediately,” Meher, 26, told The Post in a Twitter message. “My first thought was how terrible this must feel for those who truly need the money and now can’t seem to access it.”

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