As of this week, the Federal government has begun the process of releasing Economic Impact Payments (EIP) to taxpayers via the IRS. Although most of these payments are expected to go directly to taxpayers (including taxpayers that chose a bank product), we have so far received notification that payments are being sent to Republic Bank for approximately 6% of our bank product customers. With many tax offices closed and no fees or other amounts being deducted from these payments, we are printing and mailing these checks at our expense directly to the taxpayers at the mailing address on file rather than sending them back to the IRS which could cause further delays.
The funds being sent to us for EIP do not have any type of special code or indicator, and they are comingled with tax refunds, so we are using the standard EIP amounts to differentiate EIP payments from tax refunds. This means that single or head of household customers that are receiving an amount of $1200 plus $500 for each child (or joint filers receiving an amount of $2400 plus $500 for each child) will have this amount disbursed to them via a check sent in the mail from Republic Bank. Some customers will be receiving an EIP in a non-standard amount due to possible offsets for back child support or an income phase out. Unfortunately, it is difficult to differentiate these non-standard EIP from tax refunds. Therefore, these payments will be disbursed in the same fashion that the customer’s tax refund was sent to them – a check printed at tax office, direct deposit to their personal bank account, a check printed by Republic Bank (if the tax office has chosen that setting), Walmart Direct2Cash or a direct deposit to their prepaid card.
Ideally, these payments would have been issued directly to the taxpayers from the IRS and we recognize that for some tax offices and some customers, the process described above will not be ideal for their specific situation. However, in this unprecedented situation, we have chosen to proceed with the option that will get these much-needed funds out to the majority of customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
As of this morning, the IRS has released the Get My Payment tool on their website at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments. Similar to the Where’s My Refund tool, customers will be able to see the status of their payment and the last 4 digits of the bank account it was sent to if a direct deposit. For bank product customers who have their payment being routed to Republic Bank, the Bank Account Number for the direct deposit will show as the last 3 digits of their SSN plus a 0.
The biggest potential issue we expect to encounter are customers who no longer have access to receive mail at the mailing address submitted on their current year bank product application. If a customer needs to update their mailing address, they can call our Taxpayer support line at 1-866-581-1040 or complete the Taxpayer Maintenance Form on www.republictaxpayer.com. You can also submit this form on their behalf but it requires a piece of mail so it may be more efficient for the taxpayer to make the change themselves. A copy of this form can be found inside the TIC under Support/Forms or in the back of your Program Guidelines Book.
If the customer’s check has already been sent to print, the tax preparer or taxpayer will need to submit a Stop Payment Form to have the check reissued. We recognize customers in this situation may not be pleased, however, this will still be much faster than receiving a check directly from the Federal Government which are not expected to be issued for several weeks.
We hope you and your loved ones are continuing to stay safe and healthy during this challenging situation.