The Moneyist: I received a $1,200 stimulus check addressed to my late mother. What should I do now?
The process for distributing economic impact payments is far from perfect
Today, I received a $1,200 stimulus check addressed to my deceased mother. What do I do with it?I filed a final tax return for my mother after she died (listing her as deceased), which is likely why it was addressed as it was. The check was addressed as follows: Mother’sFirstName MiddleInitial LastName DECD; % MyFirstName LastName; MyAddress; City State Zip.” Thank you for any information you can provide.
The process for distributing economic impact payments is far from perfect, and I’m sorry you had to deal with this. It can’t be easy, especially at a time such as this. But you did the right thing in writing to someone to help you out, and not ignoring it. It will, at the very least, make the situation easier to resolve for you, and for the Social Security workers who are overworked during this time.
The Internal Revenue Service has not always been crystal clear on the problems that have arisen in relation to these payments, but it’s clear on this. “A payment made to someone who died before receipt of the payment should be returned to the IRS,” the federal tax collector said this week, before outlining how relatives of deceased check recipients can return the money.
Here are some options for you. If you received a paper check, surviving relatives should write “void” on the back of the check’s endorsement section and mail it back to the IRS, according the IRS directions (see Q41), with an explanation. Otherwise, you can return it via check or money order with “2020EIP,” plus the Social Security number or taxpayer I.D. of the check recipient.
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Alas, it’s a complicated, messy business. Many people have received their economic impact payment in error. Two recent cases: This woman received her former husband’s $1,200. She wants to do the right thing. Another woman wrote to The Moneyist to say her daughter had claimed her as a dependent in 2019 and wondered if it was too late to receive a stimulus check.
Stay safe and healthy, my friend, and my condolences on the loss of your mother.
Coronavirus update: As of Thursday, 8.1 million people had been tested in the U.S. for SARS-CoV-2. There were 1,256,972 confirmed cases in the U.S., and 75,670 deaths, of which nearly 26,144 were in New York state. Worldwide, there were 3,846,861 confirmed cases and 269,584 deaths, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
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