Devine Millimet | NH Law Firm


Joyce M. Hillis, Esq.

June 30, 2020

In the past few months the IRS has sent an estimated 130 million Economic Impact Payments (“EIPs”) to individuals under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. A portion of those payment were sent to deceased individuals. Now, the IRS is asking for those payments back.

The IRS has clarified its position and updated the Economic Impact Payment Information Center page on their website to state that a deceased person is not an “eligible individual” to receive an EIP. The timing for eligibility is determined on receipt of payment. Thus, an individual must be alive upon receipt of the EIP to be an “eligible individual.” As for reasoning on how this happened, the IRS pointed to the unprecedented speed in the issuance the EIPs and the utilization of the process created to make the 2008 stimulus payments under which certain deceased individuals received payment.

If the individual who received the EIP on behalf of the decedent was the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse may still be eligible to receive an EIP if he or she individually qualified as an “eligible individual.” However, the IRS requested that the surviving spouse return the entire EIP received, and a corrected EIP will be reissued to the surviving spouse.  The process to return the EIP varies based on whether you received the payment through direct deposit, check, or debit card. Detailed instructions for the return of each method of payment as well as the best address to use based on your location can be found here under Questions 68 and 69.

For more detailed information on who is eligible to receive a payment, click here.

At this time, there is no guidance on consequences imposed, such as penalties or fees, if the EIP paid to a decedent is not returned.

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