Stimulus Update: Some People May Need To Pay Back the IRS — Are You One of Them?

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Discussions about issuing a possible fourth stimulus check to Americans have gathered momentum as a new bill has been introduced by Democrats to tax large oil companies. The money taxed will go to a new stimulus check for those still struggling with financial health amidst fallouts from the COVID-19 pandemic and the current war in Ukraine.

For stimulus checks already received, there are several reasons why you may be asked to repay a coronavirus stimulus check. And, because it is the IRS, it may take a while to detect an error and for them to respond with a dreaded “contact us immediately” letter. The reasons for repayment range from changes to your financial status to mistakes made by the IRS and fall into five categories.

1. You earned too much

The three stimulus checks were heavily limited by income and when a person or family reached that limit, the payment was heavily eliminated. Those who may have not been eligible for stimulus checks may have received them.  

2. You received a check from someone who died

A deceased loved one’s stimulus check’s status depends on when they died. If a taxpayer lost a loved one in 2019, the IRS might have been unaware of the passing because 2020 taxes were not filed yet. If you received a stimulus for your deceased spouse, for example, you may need to refund that money. According to the IRS, anyone who lost a loved one before 2020 may be contacted to pay any unpaid taxes. 

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3. You’re a non-citizen

If you have been living in the United States and have been paying taxes but are not yet a citizen, you may have received a check in error. This may prompt a request for a refund.

4. You received an extra check by mistake

Another boo-boo. There have been so many checks issued that an administrative error may have occurred and you may have received an additional check.

5. You’re considered a nonresident alien

If you received stimulus funds while working and paying taxes in the U.S., you may be asked to return the money.

We’ve all had our unexpected windfalls: Getting an extra $20 when withdrawing at the ATM or getting a baker’s dozen when ordering doughnuts. But when it comes to the IRS, those banking bakers watch every penny.    

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