Prisoners & stimulus refunds under the Cares Act

The COVID Cares Act made 3 stimulus disbursements which should have been claimed on different tax years as follows:

  • The 1st stimulus ($1,200) and 2nd stimulus ($600) checks may only be claimed on a 2020 tax return. See links below:

1st and 2nd stimulus 1040 sample form

2020 IRS 1040 form (blank)

  • The 3rd stimulus ($1,400) check may only be claimed on a 2021 tax return. See links below:

3rd stimulus 1040 sample form

2021 IRS 1040 form (blank)

If the returns were already filed but no check has been received. Do NOT send the IRS another 1040 form as the IRS has said this puts the request to the back of the line!

If the returns we filed but all 3 checks have not been received, request that the IRS research the disbursements by filing the IRS form 3911 Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund. Here’s the link to this form: This form will cause the IRS to search to see if the refund was issued. Per the IRS website a response will take at least 6 weeks. Two things can happen once the IRS receives this form and conducts their search:

  • If the check wasn't cashed, a replacement check will be issued once the original check is canceled.

  • If the refund check was cashed, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) will provide the incarcerated person with a claim package to go from there.

Should a person want another person to be able to communicate with the IRS directly, that person should complete and sign the IRS’s Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. A link to the IRS’s Power of Attorney form can be found here: