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What to do if you think your coronavirus stimulus check deposit is the wrong amount


By now, most Americans who will receive a coronavirus stimulus check have had it deposited into their bank account. The IRS will continue to send out waves of direct deposits and paper checks to millions more over the next few months. 

Though tens of millions have received their checks without issue, the disbursement hasn't been without problems, including a shaky roll out of the Get My Payment tool, which was meant to help users track the status of their check, and reports that deceased individuals received stimulus payments, to the befuddlement of their still-living relatives.

CNBC Make It has also received messages from several people who believe they received the wrong payment amount. In one case, the extra $500 for a dependent child was not included. Another person received a check for a deceased spouse. 

If you believe the amount of your stimulus check is incorrect, here's what to know about fixing it.

You received too little 

If you had a child this year and your stimulus check did not include the $500 dependent credit, that's because it is based on information from 2019 or 2018. In that case, the IRS says you will receive the money next year. "You may claim the child next year for an additional credit on your 2020 tax return," the IRS says

For any other issues, once you get your payment, the IRS will send a confirmation letter via mail (not by email, text or phone call) within 15 days. This letter will explain the amount of your stimulus check and how to report any issues with the payment. You can use that information when the letter comes to report any discrepancies. 

Due to Covid-19, the IRS is not responding to phone calls from taxpayers and has closed all of its field offices. The IRS and the Treasury Department did not respond to requests for comment. 

If you received too little because your income was higher in the tax year the IRS based your check on than it will be in 2020, you will get the difference next year when you file your taxes, according to the Tax Foundation.

You received too much

There are some instances in which people believe they, or a family member, received too much money, like for a child who will turn 17 this year or if you will make more money in 2020 than you did in the year the IRS based your payment on. 

If that's the case, the IRS says you will not have to pay the money back.

"There is no provision in the law requiring repayment of a payment," the agency says. "You won't be required to repay any payment when filing your 2020 tax return even if your qualifying child turns 17 in 2020 or your adjusted gross income increases in 2020" above the thresholds for the stimulus check.

If you received a payment for a deceased spouse, it is unclear exactly what will happen. But tax professionals say it is unlikely that it will need to be repaid. If this happens to you, use the information on the letter you receive from the IRS to get clarification. 

This is a developing story. CNBC Make It will update as more information becomes available.

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