There’s no question that the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury have made great headway in providing much-needed cash to millions of financially struggling Americans.
To date, the agencies have confirmed that more than one hundred thirty million coronavirus relief checks—totaling approximately $335 billion—already have been sent out under President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
However, by fast-tracking the stimulus money to those most affected by the ongoing pandemic, there are bound to be inaccuracies in the check amount—and sometimes, there are too generous.
For those who already did receive stimulus checks and the amount seemed too much—which could potentially occur if divorced parents both receive payments for the same dependents—the IRS has stated that they won’t have to pay the money back.
Per the agency’s guidance, there is “no provision in the law that would require individuals who qualify for a payment based on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns, to pay back all or part of the payment, if based on the information reported on their 2020 tax returns, they no longer qualify for that amount.”
There is, however, nothing stopping recipients from choosing to write “void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check and then mailing it to an appropriate IRS location. If a person decides on this route, then they should write a brief explanation stating the reason for returning the check. Also, that person should contact the agency to see if they can receive a new check with the correct amount.
As for taxpayers eligible for stimulus payments who have recently died but were still sent checks, the IRS has given notice that spouses or relatives need to return the funds to the agency.
For married folks out there, be aware that the IRS has admitted that some couples are receiving their stimulus checks in two separate payments. According to the agency, the reason is apparently due to a glitch in the system that divides the payments for married couples in which one individual has filed an injured spousal claim.
The IRS has assured the public that the second half of the payment may arrive in the same week or within weeks of the first payment, adding that these couples can check the status of their payments using the IRS “Get My Payment” tool at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.
For the current third batch of four million stimulus checks, keep in mind that it is the first one that includes “plus-up” or supplemental payments for those who only received partial $1,400 payments on an earlier date.
“This batch includes the first of ongoing supplemental payments for people who earlier in March received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are eligible for a new or larger payment based on their recently processed 2020 tax returns,” the IRS said in a statement. “These ‘plus-up’ payments could include a situation where a person’s income dropped in 2020 compared to 2019, or a person had a new child or dependent on their 2020 tax return, and other situations.”
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.