CORONAVIRUS

Stimulus check US: How to return Economic Impact Payment to IRS

Advice for people who need to send a coronavirus Economic Impact Payment back to the United States Internal Revenue Service.

Stimulus check US: How to return Economic Impact Payment to IRS
CHIP SOMODEVILLA / AFP

As part of the $2.2tn relief package known as the CARES Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been sending out Economic Impact Payments to millions of people in America, to help them cope with the financial effects of the Covid-19 crisis.

According to figures released by the United States Treasury Department and the IRS on Friday, just under $260 billion has been paid out in stimulus checks since the scheme began in April.

Stimulus checks sent to people who shouldn't have received one

However, some of these payments appear to have accidentally gone out to individuals who should not have been among those getting a check.

For example, Kentucky congressman Thomas Massie took to Twitter in April to share a text he’d received from a friend whose late father had been sent money. "Dad got his stimulus check of $1,000,” the message read. “He died in [...] 2018. Does he have to spend it online?"

There have also been cases of checks being mistakenly distributed to ineligible people such as non-resident aliens and prisoners.

How to return a stimulus check to the IRS

If an Economic Impact Payment has been paid out in error, the IRS provides the following instructions for returning the check:

If it is a paper check:

  • Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check
  • Mail the voided check to the appropriate IRS address listed here
  • Don't staple, bend or paper-clip the check
  • Include a note explaining why you are returning the check

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

  • Submit a personal check, money order, etc to the appropriate IRS address listed here
  • Make the check/money order payable to “U.S. Treasury”
  • Write 2020EIP on the check, plus the payment recipient’s social security number/individual taxpayer identification number
  • Include a brief explanation of why you are returning the payment

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