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How Do I Return a Stimulus Check if the Payee is Deceased?

May 26, 2020

Payments from the multi trillion dollar coronavirus relief package have gone out across the United States, and while some Americans are still waiting for their checks to arrive, there are possibly millions of people who have received them despite being deceased.

If somebody filed his or her 2018 or 2019 tax returns and has since died, family members may see stimulus checks arrive in that person’s name. This is because the IRS uses the most recent tax information it has on file to determine eligibility.

According to the IRS, a payment made to someone who has passed away should be returned to them.

If you received a paper check:

  1. Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  2. Mail the voided check immediately to the appropriate IRS location. (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming)

Fresno Internal Revenue Service
5045 E Butler Avenue
Fresno, CA 93888

  1. Include a note stating the reason for returning the check. 

If the payment was a check and you cashed it/if the payment was a direct deposit:

  1. Submit a personal check, money order, etc., to the IRS location for your state.
  2. Write on the check/money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write 2020EIP, and the taxpayer identification number or social security number of the recipient.
  3. Include an explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.

What happens if you do not return a stimulus payment the IRS considers ineligible? Some people will unquestionably not return the money either because they have spent it, they are unaware of IRS rules, or they simply do not want to pay the money back. It is unlikely that the IRS will forget about the payment and so it is a better idea to correct immediately.