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Need to return a stimulus check? IRS releases guidelines

On May 6 the IRS released guidance for the return of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) in three situations:  deceased taxpayers, nonresident alien taxpayers, and incarcerated taxpayers.

A taxpayer who died before the receipt of the EIP must return the payment.  In the case of joint filers in which only one spouse died before receipt of the payment, then only the portion related to the decedent needs to be returned.  A person who is a nonresident alien in 2020 is not eligible for the EIP and must return the payment.  A payment made to someone who is incarcerated, should also be returned to the IRS.  If they file jointly, only the payment related to the incarcerated spouse needs to be returned.

Instructions for how to return the payment depend upon how the payment was received.

If the taxpayer received a paper check from the IRS and did not cash it, they can return the check as follows:

  • Write “void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  • Do not staple, bend or paper clip the check.
  • Include a brief note stating the reason for returning the check.
  • Mail to the appropriate IRS location listed HERE.

If the taxpayer received a paper check and already deposited it, or if the payment was direct deposited, then the taxpayer can return the payment as follows:

  • Submit a personal check or money order to the appropriate IRS location listed on their Economic Impact Payment Information Center page.
  • Make the check/money order payable to the “U.S. Treasury.”
  • Write “2020EIP” and taxpayer identification number (social security number or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient on the check.

For more detailed instructions and specific addresses on where to return funds received mistakenly, go to the IRS website’s Economic Impact Payment Information Center page, found HERE and scroll down to the “More About the Economic Impact Payment” section.  

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