Man wants to return stimulus payment given to late mother

Harry Freeland's mother passed away in December.  He said he shared a joint bank account with her, so if anything ever happened to her, the family would be able manage her funeral expenses and other bills in the event of her death.

When he recently checked that bank account, he got a surprise.

“The federal government decided to give my mother the $1,200 stimulus, though she died December 12, last year,” Freeland said.

Freeland wants to give the money back. Tax expert Prithi Daswani, CPA, said that’s the right thing to do.

“I would send it in. I'd say a good, old-fashioned check never hurts. Put a social security number on it, in the memo clearly state that 'This is the return of stimulus due to deceased taxpayer,' I would send it certified mail, too,” Daswani said.

This way there would be a record of your sending it - and don't forget to make a photocopy of the check, first. “They will cash it, I guarantee you,” Daswani assured.

For anyone who doesn't give back the money, Daswani said there was no language in the stimulus measures forcing anyone to do so.

“The right thing to do is send it back, but the IRS has nothing right now they can state that they can come after you for it.”

Freeland said he'd feel guilty keeping the cash. He just wondered why the government didn't check before sending out the checks.

“Is the IRS not talking to the social security office like they should before the send these checks out?” he asked, “I just don't quite understand what's happening here.”