COVID-19 Stimulus Checks: How to Return if the IRS Sent a Stimulus Check to a Deceased Individual

May 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided for cash rebates to certain qualifying Americans. The IRS started sending out stimulus checks in mid-April and did not have safeguards in place to prevent sending checks to those who had recently passed away. While both President Trump and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin had publicly stated the IRS would be requesting the checks issued to decedents to be returned, the IRS did not issue guidance until recently on how to return such checks. The information below comes from the IRS Economic Impact Payment Information Center.

If you received a paper stimulus check on behalf of a deceased individual:

  • Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  • Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location. Click here for the IRS mailing addresses to use based on the state.
  • Don’t staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
  • Include a note stating the reason for returning the check.

If you received a paper stimulus check and 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 2020 EIP, 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.

While guidance has been issued as to how to return these checks, the IRS has not publicly laid out consequences for not returning a decedent’s stimulus check.

If you have questions about the above information, FMJ’s Trusts & Estates attorneys can help. They can be reached by emailing estateplanning@fmjlaw.com, calling 952-995-9500, or reaching out to the individual attorneys via their email address provided below. For more information on estate planning during the COVID-19 crisis, click here.

FMJ’s Trusts & Estates group consists of David Ness (david.ness@fmjlaw.com), Karen Schlotthauer (karen.schlotthauer@fmjlaw.com), Matthew Jensen (matthew.jensen@fmjlaw.com), and Nicole Flaherty Cropper (nicole.flaherty@fmjlaw.com)