Do families have to send back coronavirus stimulus checks sent to dead relatives?

Published: 05 June, 2020

From The Philadelphia Inquirer
By Sam Wood

Tax experts say the issue is complicated, as there’s nothing in the law that would require families to return stimulus checks sent to deceased relatives.

Whether the checks must be returned may be a matter of personal conscience.

“You’re not supposed to keep that payment,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Wall Street Journal in a story published April 28. “We’re checking the databases, but there could be a scenario where we missed something, and yes, the heirs should be re­turn­ing that money.”

It took the IRS until May 6 to post information on its website FAQ asking heirs to comply.

But the IRS can’t do much more than ask, said Martin Abo, of accounting firm Abo & Co. LLC in Mount Laurel and Philadelphia.

“It’s unclear whether you would actually have to do it. There’s really nothing in the law to say you have to give it back,” said Abo, who has received multiple inquiries about the checks written to the dead. “But stand advised.”

Nina Olson, a former IRS official and current executive director of the Center for Taxpayer Rights said it is “unlikely” the IRS would pursue the stimulus money that it had erroneously awarded.

Read the full article: Dead people are getting coronavirus stimulus checks. Do families have to send the money back? Maybe not.

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