Will you have to send stimulus check back to IRS if you receive money for deceased loved ones?

by Tammy Mutasa, Thursday, April 16th 2020

As many Americans receive their stimulus payments from the federal government, some have been surprised to discover that their loved ones who died also were sent the money.

So many are asking what does that mean for relatives and will they have to send the money back?

Plus, others say they are still having trouble tracking their payments after the IRS site crashed due to overwhelming demand.

The confusion is reflected in the questions—

Jan Bogle sent me us this concern on Facebook saying, “Tammy, now that the stimulus payments are being made, they are creating (I think) new questions.

Mine is: I received $2,400. My husband passed away in August, 2018. I filed my 2018 taxes correctly. I believe I need to pay back $1,200. How do I get this done?”

Many people have voiced this concern all over social media.

We asked the Executive Director of The Center for Taxpayer Rights and former taxpayer advocate for the IRS—Nina Olson.

She says the payments are based on 2019 taxpayer returns—or 2018 if they haven’t filed yet.

So, people whose spouses died in those years would get a payment.

“So, if someone was alive in 2018 as in this example and the spouse and the spouse died during 2018. But their 2018 return was correctly filed as married filed jointly because they were married during 2018, and they haven’t yet filed their 2019 return, the IRS will look at the 2018 return and send payments to both,” said Olson.

The Treasury Department said people will not have to pay back their stimulus payments on next year’s tax return.

Olson says neither do the relatives of deceased loved ones.

“That’s a result of trying to get the money out now instead of people having to wait until 2020,” said Olson.

That’s not the only stimulus payment concern.

We got at least five different messages from people who either haven’t gotten their checks or had issues with the “Get My Payment” App to track their payment.

Some said they kept getting the message “Payment status not available.”

The agency tweeted, “The #IRS Get My Payment tool is operating at record volumes,” adding people may get the message: if they recently filed through the new IRS non-filers tool, if they’re required to file taxes and haven’t filed for 2018 or 2019 or if they get Social Security benefits. The IRS said today those recipients will get their automatic payments no later than early May.

“It is not surprising to me that there would be bugs no matter how careful they try to be, this is a mammoth undertaking,” said Olson.

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