Tax Breaks

What to Do If You Get a Stimulus Check for a Deceased Person

The IRS sent more than 1 million stimulus checks to dead people. If you received one for a family member who passed away, there are certain steps you must take right away.

The IRS sent nearly 1.1 million stimulus checks – totaling about $1.4 billion – to dead people. And that's just through April. When stimulus checks were approved in late March, the tax agency worked feverishly to get payments out the door as quickly as possible. Well, haste makes waste. By focusing so much on speed, the IRS left a few holes wide open … like sending checks to dead people.

People who receive checks for relatives who are no longer with us are scratching their heads wondering what they should do with the money. Keep it? Deposit it into an estate account? Send it back? Donate it to charity? Something else? Fortunately, the IRS has specific guidance on what to do if you receive a stimulus check for a deceased person.

Who Needs to Return a Stimulus Payment

The IRS says that a stimulus payment made to someone who died before receiving it should be returned to the government. The entire payment should be returned, unless it was made payable to joint filers and one spouse is still alive. In that case, you only need to return the portion of the payment made on account of the deceased person. This amount will be $1,200, unless your joint adjusted gross income exceeded $150,000.

If You Received a Paper Check and Have Not Cashed It

If you received a paper stimulus check, and you have not cashed it, follow these steps:

  • Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check;
  • Mail the voided check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below;
  • Don't staple, bend, or paper clip the check; and
  • Include a note stating the reason for returning the check.

Cashed Paper Checks and Direct Deposit Payments

If the payment was by paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit, follow these steps:

  • Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below;
  • Make the check/money order payable to "U.S. Treasury";
  • Write "2020EIP" and the deceased person's taxpayer identification number (social security number or individual taxpayer identification number) on the check or money order; and
  • Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the payment.

Where to Send the Returned Payment

Here are the IRS mailing addresses to use for returning stimulus check payments.

If you live in…Mail to this address
Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, VermontAndover Refund Inquiry Unit
1310 Lowell St.
Mail Stop 666A
Andover, MA 01810
Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, VirginiaAtlanta Refund Inquiry Unit
4800 Buford Hwy.
Mail Stop 112
Chamblee, GA 30341
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, TexasAustin Refund Inquiry Unit
3651 S Interregional Hwy. 35
Mail Stop 6542
Austin, TX 78741
New YorkBrookhaven Refund Inquiry Unit
5000 Corporate Ct.
Mail Stop 547
Holtsville, NY 11742
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, WyomingFresno Refund Inquiry Unit
5045 E Butler Ave.
Mail Stop B2007
Fresno, CA 93888
Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, West VirginiaKansas City Refund Inquiry Unit
333 W Pershing Rd.
Mail Stop 6800, N-2
Kansas City, MO 64108
Alabama, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, TennesseeMemphis Refund Inquiry Unit
5333 Getwell Rd.
Mail Stop 8422
Memphis, TN 38118
District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode IslandPhiladelphia Refund Inquiry Unit
2970 Market St.
DP 3-L08-151
Philadelphia, PA 19104
A foreign country, U.S. possession or territory, or use an APO or FPO address, or file Form 2555 or 4563, or are a dual-status alienAustin Refund Inquiry Unit
3651 S Interregional Hwy. 35
Mail Stop 6542 AUSC
Austin, TX 78741

Most Popular

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans
taxes

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans

With the economy still in trouble, tax policy takes on added importance in the 2020 election. So, let's take a look at what Joe Biden wants to do abou…
October 22, 2020
How to Be Happy (Not Bored!) in Retirement – Starting Today
happy retirement

How to Be Happy (Not Bored!) in Retirement – Starting Today

Here are 12 ways to prepare now for retirement so that you’ll be happy, active, fulfilled and never, ever bored.
October 21, 2020
2 Credit Card Gotchas to Watch Out For
credit cards

2 Credit Card Gotchas to Watch Out For

After an infuriating wake-up call with her own credit card company, one financial services consultant wants consumers to know something: It’s smart to…
October 20, 2020

Recommended

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans
taxes

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans

With the economy still in trouble, tax policy takes on added importance in the 2020 election. So, let's take a look at what Joe Biden wants to do abou…
October 22, 2020
Will Joe Biden Raise YOUR Taxes?
taxes

Will Joe Biden Raise YOUR Taxes?

There's little doubt that, if elected, Joe Biden will try to raise taxes for some people. Will you be one of them?
October 22, 2020
13 States That Tax Social Security Benefits
social security

13 States That Tax Social Security Benefits

You may have dreamed of a tax-free retirement, but if you live in these 13 states, your Social Security benefits are subject to a state tax. That's on…
October 21, 2020
States With Scary Death Taxes
inheritance

States With Scary Death Taxes

Federal estate taxes are no longer a problem for all but the extremely wealthy, but several states have their own estates taxes and inheritances taxes…
October 19, 2020