Stimulus checks: IRS says money sent to the deceased must be returned

The Internal Revenue Service has updated its guidance around stimulus checks sent to deceased Americans, saying that economic relief payments made to those individuals must be returned to the federal government.

Those who received a paper check should void it and mail it back to a designated IRS facility, according to the updated guidance. Those who received a direct deposit can return the money to the IRS in the form of a personal check or money order.

Due to a lag in reporting data, some of the more than 130 million economic impact payments that went out to taxpayers as part of an economic relief package were sent to people who are dead. In the case of couples who file jointly, only the portion of payment sent to the deceased needs to be repaid.

The IRS also says that any check sent to someone incarcerated should also be returned.

The IRS and Treasury did not say what would happen if these payments were not returned or otherwise repaid.

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Anyone who earns up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income and who has a Social Security number will receive a $1,200 payment. That means married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment, $2,400, if their adjusted gross income is under $150,000.

The payment amount steadily declines for those who make more. Those earning more than $99,000, or $198,000 for joint filers, are ineligible. For heads of household with one child, the benefit starts to decline at $112,500 and falls to zero at $146,500.

Parents also will receive $500 for each qualifying child.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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