Several Americans have, by now, received their government-issued stimulus payments. With any program the government quickly rolls out, the process has not been perfect and there are a number of questions. Those questions range from “Do I qualify for a stimulus check?” to “Will I have to pay this back?” and everything in between. We have gotten several calls to our office from folks who have recently lost a loved one with one question in particular. It’s a sensitive subject, but it’s important to know what to do if you receive a stimulus payment for a deceased loved one.
Can You Keep The Stimulus Payment Sent For A Deceased Loved One?
The short answer to this question is, no. This answer can seem particularly difficult to hear, especially if the loved one was your spouse. However, the stimulus guidelines state that if a person passed before the payment was received, the amount of their payment must be returned. The payments are designed to assist during the Coronavirus crisis. Even though that person may have been alive and well during the tax period with which the IRS is using to determine the stimulus payment amount, you cannot keep their portion of the stimulus payment. You must return the entire payment unless the it was made to joint filers and one spouse had not died before receipt of the payment, in which case, you only need to return the portion of the payment made on account of the decedent. This amount will be $1,200 unless adjusted gross income exceeded $150,000.
How To Return A Stimulus Payment
The IRS has provided easy-to-follow instructions on how to return a stimulus payment.
If the payment was a paper check:
- Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
- Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
- 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 “U.S. Treasury” and write 2020EIP and 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 EIP.
For your paper check, here is the IRS mailing address to use for Michigan residents:
Kansas City Internal Revenue Service
333 W Pershing Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Our team is still working and available to assist you during the COVID-19 Crisis. If you have questions, concerns, or would like to discuss your own legal planning needs and goals, please contact us. Our team will respond within 24 business hours.