In many cases, these cash windfalls have been a lifesaver, enabling low-income individuals to pay for groceries, utilities, and rent. But also know that some of these checks have landed in bank accounts of Americans who necessarily didn’t need them.
In fact, according to one poll conducted Federal Reserve Bank of New York, it revealed that U.S. consumers are saving forty-two cents of every dollar received from the third round of stimulus checks under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Furthermore, not even 25 percent of the cash is being spent and the remainder is being used to pay off outstanding debts.
If one chooses to return any stimulus they received, know that it is relatively easy to accomplish. Just write “void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check and then mail it off to an appropriate IRS office. Also, make sure to write a brief explanation stating the reason for returning the money.
For some, the payment was already direct deposited into an individual’s bank account. In this particular scenario, one can send off a personal check or money order to a local IRS location.
Just keep in mind to make it payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write “Third EIP” and personal taxpayer identification number—which can be a social security number or individual taxpayer identification number—on the check. Once again, a brief note outlining why it is being returned will be necessary.
Another situation that the IRS wants the public to be aware of is if a deceased individual was sent a stimulus payment. The agency has already sent out a notice that spouses or relatives will need to make time and return the checks to one of its offices. The IRS, however, did add that this notice only affects taxpayers who died before January 1, 2021.
If the deceased spouse, though, was part of a joint tax return, then the surviving individual may keep the cash, and the same holds true if the deceased was a married member of the U.S. military. If the payment has both the husband and wife’s names on it, the surviving spouse may keep the money but must include a letter requesting a new check be reissued with only his or her name on it.
Finally, take note that there also have been instances of stimulus checks ending up in the wrong bank accounts or mailboxes. Although there might be that temptation to try to deposit a stimulus check that is under a different name, the law office of Stechschulte Nell says that one should never take such a chance.
“If you have tried to deposit a dead or fraudulent COVID-19 stimulus check you may be charged with a federal crime such as bank fraud, mail fraud, or wire fraud. All of these are serious crimes, with long sentences of imprisonment or large fines,” says the law office.
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.