Stimulus Checks: Thousands of Americans Mistakenly Received 2 Payments

People across the country are holding out hope for a second round of economic impact payments, but for a few lucky Americans, a second stimulus check has already been distributed. This news comes out of a recent report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which found that roughly 154 million of the 157 million checks issued as of May 21 had accurately been distributed. Of those 3 million checks inaccurately distributed, some had been sent to people who had already received a stimulus payment.

Reported on by Fox News, the report found that as of May 21, approximately 46,760 Americans had accidentally received two payments. This included people who filed as "married filing jointly" in 2018 as the secondary taxpayer on a return but filed as single in 2019, and vice versa. The mistake equaled out to a more than $69 million error.

Unsurprisingly, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is now requesting that any additional stimulus checks that Americans had received by mistake be returned. In May, the agency had issued guidelines on how to return stimulus checks for those sent to deceased Americans. To do so, one must write "void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check and include a note explaining why the check is being returned. Payments distributed via direct deposit should be returned via check. The IRS has not, however, outlined any consequences for not returning a stimulus check by mistake.

That report also found that approximately 1.2 million stimulus payments went to dead or incarcerated people. A separate report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in June found that the IRS had distributed almost 1.1 million payments totaling $1.4 billion to dead Americans. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration's report outlined further errors, reporting that 309,601 payments were issued to people who were likely nonresidents. Meanwhile, more than a million Americans who were eligible for an economic impact payment under the CARES Act have still not yet received their payout.

The release of the report comes as Congress prepares to begin negotiations later in July regarding what could potentially be the final relief package amid the coronavirus pandemic. A key topic up for debate is whether or not a second round of stimulus checks should be included in the bill. Lawmakers have largely remained divided on the topic, though there has been growing support for further payments to the American people in recent weeks.