Who Should Return Their Third Stimulus Check to the IRS?

Some people who receive a third stimulus check are required to send it back to the IRS. Others can return it voluntarily.

picture of Uncle Sam taking money out of a man's wallet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Your first thought after reading the headline might be, "who in their right mind would give back a stimulus check?" A lot of people who receive a stimulus payment can really use the money right now. And most Americans who don't really need a helping hand can certainly find something to do with an extra $1,400. So, why would anyone return their third stimulus check to the IRS?

For one group of people, it's because the IRS is telling them to send it back. They're not eligible for a payment in the first place, so that makes sense (although not all ineligible people are being asked to return mistakenly sent checks). There's another group of Americans who will want to return their stimulus check because they can't otherwise cash it. And then, believe it or not, there may be some people out there who just don't want the money. They can send it back, too.

So, should you return your third stimulus check to the IRS? Read on to find out. We'll also let you know how to send it back if you do. The IRS has specific instructions for returning the money, and you'll want to make sure you do it right. If, like most people, you end up keeping your stimulus payment, just make sure you spend it wisely!

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Rocky Mengle

Rocky Mengle was a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger from October 2018 to January 2023 with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, Rocky worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting, and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky holds a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.