ALLEN PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — "We went in the mailbox and we found the check," said Mike Navoy.
The $1,200 stimulus check is the last thing Allen Park homeowner Mike Navoy thought he would find when cleaning out his mother’s mail.
That’s because his mother Margaret passed away in February. This is highlighting a major error as the government works fast to get stimulus checks into the hands of 150 million Americans.
"The stimulus is to help people in the crisis, and she’s not in the crisis," Navoy said.
The IRS is supposed to check death records before okaying payments but sometimes there’s a lag in the reporting.
So metro Detroiter's, including the children and spouses of the deceased, are emailing WXYZ to ask what they should do with the money.
"Naturally we’d like the money but we’re not going to cash the check until we get the absolute go ahead," Navoy said.
Initially, tax experts said next of kin would likely keep the money based on precedent set by the bush administration, which also sent checks to the deceased during a stimulus boost amidst the 2008 financial crisis.
Last week, the United States Department of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin took a different stance saying the money would have to be returned.
A statement from the Treasury in part said, “We will be issuing guidance….shortly.”
For the IRS to get the job done, tax expert Leon LaBrecque says it would be a huge undertaking.
"How on earth are they going to do this, they have absolutely no resources to do this - they’re too busy doing everything else," LeBrecque said.
The CARES act stipulates that money does not need to be returned. There appears to be a provision in the law that says if IRS over sends you the money, you don’t have to give it back.
That said, LaBrecque says you should refrain from using the cash until further notice, which Navoy says he will do.
"I don’t know where we would send it back, so we’re just going to hold it," Navoy said.
SO HERE’S THE REBOUND RUNDOWN
- CHECKS TO THE DECEASED ARE EXPECTED TO BE RETURNED
- GUIDANCE ON HOW TO DO THAT HAS NOT YET BEEN RELEASED
- AVOID SPENDING THE MONEY FOR NOW
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