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Why and How You Should Return Incentive Money to the IRS


That extra incentive money may not be yours to keep.

Sarah Tew / CNET

With the tax return season on the cusp starting on February 12, millions of Americans who were eligible a stimulus check, but they never received it to collect their paperwork claim the missing amount on their federal tax returns. But what about if you’re on the other end of the scale and the IRS falsely sent you money were not really qualified to have – should you return it? And the same rules would apply to one third stimulus check?

If you’ve received an incentive payment that you shouldn’t have – you might more than the specified income limit, for example – yes, IRS expects you to return the money. When the first round of incentive checks fell out nearly a year ago, the IRS said it accidentally sent payments to people who were not eligible in certain cases. Because the second round of checks was supposed to be pushed out so quickly, it is possible that the same errors have occurred again. Depending on how you got the stimulus payment – by paper check, EIP card or direct deposit – there are specific ways to return it.

These are the situations that the IRS would like you to return a stimulus check that was paid out in error, detailing how to do it. It’s also important to keep your stimulus check rights and these important details about it incentive controls and taxes. (And here’s what happens to a potential third stimulus check, why some want to “target the payment”, How much money that the new check could generate and when it can be approved.) This story was recently updated.

Situations where you need to repay your incentive payment

The government determines who it is qualify for a stimulus check based on a wide variety of factors. If you fall into one of these categories and received a stimulus check, it was probably by mistake:

There is more information on this who is not eligible for the $ 600 incentive check.

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What to do if you received an incentive payment for someone who has passed away

If you received a payment for someone who died in 2019 or earlier, the IRS says you must repay the full payment “unless it was made to joint filers and one spouse is still alive.” If you are the living spouse, you have to repay half of the payment – but no more than $ 1,200 in total.

However, if the check was issued in both your name and the name of your deceased spouse (and therefore you cannot deposit the money), you must return the entire amount to the IRS. After the agency processes the returned payment, it will issue a new check with the correct amount for you.

If you’ve redeemed or deposited the incentive payment, here’s how to return it

1. Use a personal check or money order and pay the check to the U.S. Treasury. You must also write the EIP 2020 and include the taxpayer identification number or Social Security number of the person whose name is on the check.

2. On a separate sheet of paper, let the IRS know why you are returning the check.

3. Mail the check to the correct IRS location – it depends what state you live in.


While you’re still waiting for your check to arrive, you can track it.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you haven’t cashed or deposited the paper check, here’s how to return it

If any of the above applies to you, you may need to return your stimulus check. Here’s how to do this for each scenario, according to the IRS.

1. Write “VOID” in the approval section on the back of the check.

2. Do not bend the check or make paper clips.

3. On a separate sheet of paper, let the IRS know why you are returning the check.

4. Mail the check to the correct IRS location – it varies depending on the state you live in.

Never received an incentive payment? Here’s what to do

If you are one of more than 100 million people who were eligible for the second $ 600 stimulus check and it never arrived, you may be able to claim it as a recovery credit discount even about your taxes if you don’t usually file taxes. Alternatively, you may need to starts an IRS payment track.

If you are not signed up for direct deposit through the IRS, this is a good time, as one the third stimulus check is on the table. To do this, you’ll need to add your bank details when you file your 2020 taxes this year. We also encourage you to file your taxes as early as possible this year, especially because of stimulus controls.

To keep up to date with the latest stimulus news, check out what happens now that the IRS has stopped sending second stimulus controls. If you have problems with stimulus control, do this instead of calling the IRS. This is also what is happening now with a potential third incentive payment.

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