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VERIFY: What should you do with a stimulus check sent to a deceased relative?

Several viewers asked the Verify team what should be done with stimulus checks made out to relatives who passed away. Can they be deposited?

WASHINGTON — QUESTION:

If a relative who passed away received a stimulus check, what should you do with it? Can you deposit it?

ANSWER:

The IRS says the payment should be returned to the US Treasury. 

SOURCES:

Internal Revenue Service- Economic Impact Payment Information Center

PROCESS:

After the passage of the CARES Act, the Verify team has been answering viewer questions about the stimulus checks, like when to expect them and who's eligible.

RELATED: VERIFY: May 5th is a crucial deadline for those on SSI or getting VA Benefits

As payments started hitting mailboxes and bank accounts around the U.S., our Verify team began receiving questions about what should be done if their deceased loved one received a check.

RELATED: VERIFY: Stimulus checks are coming. Here's everything you need to know

"My mother passed away in December 2019 and we filed her last taxes in Feb. of 2020," one viewer wrote. "We received a stimulus check in the mail for her....we are holding the check until we receive instructions from the IRS."

"My son received a stimulus check in his name and his dead brother's name," another viewer wrote. "Can he cash the check since his name also appears on the check or should it be sent back? If he sends it back where should it be sent to?"

People all over the country are receiving checks for relatives who passed away.

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

So we're verifying whether or not you can deposit a stimulus check for a deceased relative?

According to the IRS's website, anyone who received an Economic Impact Payment, colloquially called a "stimulus check," for someone who is now deceased, should return it.

"A payment made to someone who died before receipt of the payment should be returned to the IRS by following the instructions in the Q&A about repayments," the IRS writes.

If you got a paper check, write "VOID" in the endorsement section on the back. Then return to the IRS location listed for your state with a note explaining why you’re sending it back.

If you already cashed the check or if the payment was a direct deposit, the IRS says you should send a personal check or money order payable to "U.S. Treasury."

Make sure to write "2020 EIP," include the taxpayer identification number of the recipient of the check, and a brief note about why you’re returning it before you send it to your local IRS location. 

For anyone who filed jointly, and their spouse passed away, the IRS says you need to return your spouse’s portion of the check.

RELATED: Verify: Can stimulus money be seized to pay off debts?

"You only need to return the portion of the payment made on account of the decedent," the IRS writes. "This amount will be $1,200 unless adjusted gross income exceeded $150,000."  

So we can verify that no, the IRS says you cannot keep a stimulus check sent to someone who passed away.

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 Internal Revenue Service
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

RELATED: Here are the answers to more of your stimulus check questions

RELATED: VERIFY: The stimulus checks won't impact your tax refund next year

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