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Some people might need to return their $1,400 stimulus checks

Published Apr 12th, 2021 1:08PM EDT
Stimulus check update
Image: cabania/Adobe

We’ve covered every aspect of the ongoing stimulus check rollout, in the wake of the President Biden’s signing of the $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation a little over a month ago now that kick-started the disbursement of a new wave of stimulus checks to US taxpayers. There have been so many angles to consider, from who’s eligible for one of the new $1,400 coronavirus relief payments to when and how they’ll be distributed to the likelihood that yet another wave of stimulus checks might get approved.

But here, meanwhile, is a stimulus check update I never expected to write: Some people are actually returning their stimulus check — and, indeed, some of you definitely should send your payment back to the IRS. Here’s who should take the unusual step of giving back their stimulus money.

One group of people this affects, according to personal finance publication Kiplinger, is nonresident aliens. These are people who generally are not US citizens, don’t have a green card, and aren’t in the US for a required amount of time. If they got a stimulus check with their name on it, perhaps through a bureaucratic fluke, they need to return it to the tax agency. Nonresident aliens, by the way, are distinct from qualifying resident aliens who are, in fact, eligible for a third stimulus payment if they have a valid Social Security number and they also either have a green card or remain in the US for a substantial part of the calendar year.

Another example of someone who’d need to return their stimulus check: According to the IRS rules, as noted by Kiplinger, if a stimulus check was issued to a married couple and one of the spouses has died, that check must be returned. You’ll need to include a letter explaining the situation so that the IRS can re-issue a payment in the living spouse’s name.

In terms of who else should send the money back, anyone who doesn’t need or want this third check from the IRS is encouraged to either send it back to the tax agency (or do something good with it, like donate it to charity). If you want to send it back to the IRS, send your debit card (if you were issued one of the pre-loaded stimulus debit cards) along with an explanation noting that you don’t want the money, to Money Network Cardholder Services, 2900 Westside Parkway, Alpharetta, GA 30004.

If you received a paper check from the IRS, then you’ll need to void the check and send it back to one of the IRS addresses listed at the bottom of this page. Alternatively, if the IRS direct-deposited the money into your bank account, you’ll need to make out a check payable to the US Treasury, include “Third EIP” and your taxpayer ID number somewhere on the check, and include a brief explanation of why you’re sending it back to one of those IRS office addresses listed at the previous link.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.