How to Return a Stimulus Check You Weren’t Supposed to Get


If you received a coronavirus stimulus payment that you weren’t supposed to get, don’t cash that check! The IRS has updated its website with instructions on how to return the money.

Some payments went out to people who didn’t qualify, including nonresident aliens, incarcerated people and deceased taxpayers.

IRS Issues Guidance for Returning Stimulus Checks 

If someone died before receiving the payment, the IRS says the check should be returned. There’s an exception if the payment was made to joint filers and one spouse is alive. In that case, only a portion of the payment should be returned.

There are different instructions on how to return the payment depending on how you got it.

For example, if you received the payment via direct deposit or you already cashed a paper check, you’ll need to mail a check or money order to the IRS, payable to the U.S. Treasury, for the portion you weren’t supposed to get.

If you received a paper check and haven’t cashed it, you can void the Treasury check and return it.

The IRS has several mailing addresses. You’ll want to check this FAQ page for complete instructions and to find the appropriate address based on the state where you live.

While we can’t currently accept phone calls to our Consumer Action Center helpline, we can still answer your money questions! Visit to submit your question and a Consumer Action Center volunteer will call you as soon as possible.

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