What to do with the stimulus check you received for your deceased family member

How to get your stimulus check faster
Posted at 5:13 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 18:27:30-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — In last few weeks, we’ve heard from many of you about stimulus meant for a deceased loved one.

Do you have to return the money?

The answer is yes, and now we’re learning how.

We received this check which we found interesting.

It was an unexpected piece of mail, Dianne and Ron Kerner received. It was a stimulus check for Ron’s late mother, Edna.

She passed away two years ago and has long stopped receiving Social Security but more shocking than seeing Edna’s name on the check, it clearly says deceased on it.

These letters, DECD following her name, refer to deceased, meaning the IRS system knew she wasn’t alive and issued it anyways.

"Obviously they have no checks and balances on anything they are just randomly sending checks out," said Dianne Kerner.

We reached out to the IRS to find out what happened and they told us that because of the speedy timeline with the two weeks they had to get 150 million checks disbursed?

Regrettably, mistakes were made.

The Treasury Department has taken notice, and unlike what we’ve seen in the past has directed the IRS ask for it to be returned.

Here’s what you need to know:

For Michiganders with a paper check, write the word void, note your reason for returning it and mail it to this Kansas City address.

Kansas City Internal Revenue Service
333 W Pershing Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64108

If the check was already direct deposited, submit a personal check or money order, make it payable to “U.S. Treasury,” write 2020 EIP and the taxpayer’s Social Security # on the check and mail it to the same address.

What if you were a joint filer and spouse died?

The IRS says you can deposit the $2400 check and then return the $1200 portion you didn’t merit.

If you choose not to, CPA Leon LaBrecque says you could potentially see it impact your taxes down the line.

"They come back and say well we gave you $2400 instead of $1200," said Leon LaBrecque.

You had an extra amount of withholding so you’ll have to take that into account.

The Rebound Rundown:

  • You are expected to send back stimulus for the deceased
  • A paper check should simply be voided and returned
  • For already deposited stimulus, a check or money order should be written and mailed

Another question: How this would be enforced and whether there would be penalties for those who don’t return the money?

Both the IRS and Treasury Department tell me they don’t have an answer yet.