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Q & A: Returning an Economic Impact Payment

09/09/2020

According to the Treasury Department, more than 159 million individuals have already received their Economic Impact Payments; however, a recent audit found that the IRS sent $1.4 billion in stimulus checks to deceased individuals. As such, many people may have received a payment for a deceased family member or another taxpayer who is not eligible to receive a payment and may have questions about what to do. Here are some answers:

Q: How should an individual return an Economic Impact Payment?

Mail the payment to the correct IRS mailing address listed on the Economic Impact Payment Information Center page at IRS.gov. The mailing address is based on the state that the person lives in and may be different from where you send your tax forms and payments.

Q: What if a payment was received for someone who has died?

A payment made to someone who died before they received the payment should be returned to the IRS. Return the entire payment unless the check was made out to joint filers and one spouse is still living. In that case, return half the payment, but not more than $1,200.

If someone can’t deposit a check because it was issued to both spouses and one spouse has died, the individual should return the check. Once the IRS receives and processes the returned payment, an Economic Impact Payment will be reissued to the surviving spouse.

Q: What if the paper check was not cashed or deposited?

If the paper check was not cashed or deposited take the following steps:

  • 1. Write Void in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  • 2. Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location.
  • 3. Don’t staple, bend or paper clip the check.
  • 4. Include a brief explanation of why they return the check.

Q: How should a direct deposit payment or a paper check that was already cashed or deposited be returned?

In this case, mail a personal check, money order, etc., to the appropriate IRS location. Visit the Economic Impact Payment Information Center on IRS.gov or call the office if you aren’t sure where to send the payment.

Make the check or money order payable to the U.S. Treasury and write 2020 EIP, as well as the taxpayer identification number, Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number of the person whose name is on the check. A brief explanation of why the Economic Impact Payment is being returned should also be included.

If you received your EIP as a debit card and want to return the money to the IRS and NOT have the payment re-issued, please visit the Economic Impact Payment Information Center on IRS.gov or call the office for assistance as there are specific instructions.

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