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Coronavirus stimulus checks sent to dead people need to be returned, IRS says

There have been reports around the country of stimulus payments showing up for deceased people. The IRS has just announced what people need to do.

WASHINGTON — If you happened to get a coronavirus stimulus check made out to a deceased relative, the government expects that money back. 

The Treasury Department announced Wednesday that those who got money on behalf of a person who has died should return the funds to the IRS. 

As the $1,200 economic stimulus payments tied to the CARES Act were deposited and mailed out, there were many people left confused after they got checks meant for deceased relatives. 

While the Internal Revenue Service previously said it was aware of the situation, the federal agency hadn't offered any official guidance on what to do until Wednesday. 

The IRS website's frequently asked questions section now has instructions on what to do if you got money meant for a deceased relative. It states that, “a payment made to someone who died before receipt of the payment should be returned.”

However, if the money went to a married couple who filed their taxes jointly, only the portion for the spouse who has passed away would need to be returned, the department said.

RELATED: Stimulus checks being sent to dead people, leaving loved ones confused

The IRS website also states that people who are incarcerated in the legal system do not qualify for the money, and that payments made to them should also be returned.

RELATED: Stimulus checks sent to a dead relative? Don't spend it!

The government has distributed about 130 million economic impact payments to taxpayers in less than 30 days. The IRS anticipates sending more than 150 million payments as part of the massive coronavirus rescue package. 

So, how exactly are you supposed to return a stimulus payment? Here's what the IRS says you should do. 

How do you return a stimulus check? 

If the payment was a paper check:

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

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

  1. Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  2. Write on the check/money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write 2020EIP, and the taxpayer identification number (social security number,  or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
  3. Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.

For your paper check, here are the IRS mailing addresses to use based on the state:

Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont: 

Andover Internal Revenue Service
310 Lowell St.
Andover, MA 01810

Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia

Atlanta Internal Revenue Service
4800 Buford Hwy
Chamblee, GA 30341

Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas

Austin Refund Inquiry Unit
3651 S Interregional Hwy 35
Austin, TX 78741

New York

Brookhaven Internal Revenue Service
5000 Corporate Ct.
Holtsville, NY 11742

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

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

Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia

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

Alabama, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee

Memphis Internal Revenue Service
5333 Getwell Rd
Memphis, TN 38118

District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island

Philadelphia Internal Revenue Service
2970 Market St
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 alien.

Austin Internal Revenue Service
3651 S Interregional Hwy 35
Austin, TX 78741

How do I return a debit card?

The IRS said if you received a debit card and want to return the money, and not have the payment re-issued, the card can be sent with a brief explanation on why the payment is no longer needed to the address below.

Money Network Cardholder Services
5565 Glenridge Connector NE
Mail Stop GH-52
Atlanta, GA 30342

Credit: AP
In this April 23, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump's name is seen on a stimulus check issued by the IRS to help combat the adverse economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, in San Antonio.

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