If you should receive a stimulus check issued to a deceased relative either by direct deposit or paper check, you may be thinking what should I do with it? Should I cash it or send it back?
That was the question many Americans faced who received $1,200 stimulus payments, in the names of deceased spouses or other family members. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided an answer: Send the money back.
Recently, the IRS added new language to its Frequently Asked Questions page for Economic Impact Payments (i.e. stimulus checks) https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center, states that people who have died are not eligible for payments.
As per the IRS website, a stimulus payment made to someone who died before receiving the payment should be returned to the IRS by following the instructions provided for return of the payment. Return the entire payment unless the payment was made to joint filers and the one spouse is still living, then you only need to return the portion made to the decedent.
This is how to return stimulus payment:
If the payment was a paper check:
- Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
- Mail the voided check immediately to the appropriate IRS location.
- Don’t staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
- Include a note stating the reason for returning the check.
If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit:
- Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
- Write on the check/money order made payable to “S. Treasury” and write 2020EIPand the taxpayer identification number (social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
- Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the Economic Impact Payment.
Each state has a specific address for mailing the returned stimulus payment. For New York State residents, the mailing address is:
Brookhaven Internal Revenue Service
5000 Corporate Ct.
Holtsville, New York 11742