Clyde Snow

Update From District Court Commissioners Regarding Division of COVID-19 Stimulus Check

by | Apr 22, 2020

Below is a recent communication from the Second District court commissioners regarding the division of COVID-19 stimulus checks. While the communication is from the Second District, district court commissioners generally take similar positions.


As parties have begun receiving money pursuant to the federal stimulus package, questions are coming in regarding the court’s position on whether these funds should be divided and, if so, how. The court must be cognizant at all times of offering advisory opinions on issues that are not before the court, which would be expressly prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct. However, in our ongoing effort to assist parties and practitioners, the following information is provided. Thanks must be given at this point to Commissioner Morgan, who did extensive research on the issue and was able to rely on his background as a former employee of the IRS.

Put simply, in the majority of cases the federal stimulus money is not free money. It is a credit against taxes that might be owed in 2020; it’s simply being given early in an effort to stimulate the economy. This is pursuant to the new section 6428 of the tax code, which specifically says, “there shall be allowed as a credit against tax imposed . . . for the first taxable year beginning in 2020 . . . .” As of now, the IRS hasn’t promulgated rules regarding 2020 taxes and how this payment would be taken into account.

We also must consider the fact that the tax credit’s payment will be based on either a party’s 2018 or 2019 tax filing, depending on whether the party in question has filed their 2019 taxes. Both the tax code and Utah’s statutes contain various provisions regarding eligibility to claim children for tax purposes. This means that the tax credit will be paid depending on the vagaries of the parties’ individual orders, being current in support obligations, and other statutory provisions.

The bottom line is that the determination of who got the money in the first place, as determined by the IRS, is based on multiple complex factors. Given that the money is merely a credit towards a party’s future tax obligation, we would be reluctant to reallocate the funds in some different manner. People who merely view the funds as “free money” may feel this is unfair, particularly if a non-custodial parent receives the $500 per child because 2019 was their turn to claim the child(ren). If anyone claimed the child(ren) who didn’t have the right to may be addressed during the normal enforcement proceedings. Otherwise, the money received is that party’s own money, just paid now rather than via lessening of their 2020 tax obligation.

We wish all of you our best and hope that this is helpful.

Commissioner Catherine S. Conklin
Commissioner Christina L. Wilson
Commissioner T.R. Morgan

Sign up for our latest updates.

Recent Posts

Ripple Effect 151: Discover Ag. Podcast

Tara Vander Dussen, Co-Host of the Discover Ag. Podcast, joins us for a lively and informative discussion about agricultural news and information. We dive into the presence and impact of social media, themes and trends, and why the new “food curious” movement is...

Ripple Effect 150: Colorado River Authority of Utah

Amy Haas, Executive Director of the Colorado River Authority of Utah, talks us through the inception of the entity, how it executes its mission to protect and defend Utah’s portion of the Colorado River, and where the Authority is leading out in tackling hard...

Ripple Effect 149: Watershed Improvements for Carbon Credits

Alex Johnson, Chief Strategic Officer for Virridy, walks us through this Company’s unique, and very innovative, platform to merge monitoring water quality improvements with selling carbon credits on the voluntary carbon market. Hint – treating water is energy...

Ripple Effect 148: Scaling Up! H2O – from Host to Guest!

In this very special episode, Emily joins the podcast not as a host, but as a guest! Join us as our beloved host Emily Lewis takes the spotlight on an entirely separate water podcast - 'Scaling Up! H2O.' Here's your chance to get personal with our host....

Ripple Effect 147: Snow Report 2023-2024

Jordan Clayton, Supervisor for the Utah Snow Survey at NRCS, joins us to discuss the status of Utah’s snow year and our water supply. Good news – after a slow start, the State is overall at 102% of normal. Bad news – we have a long way to go in the water year and we...

Ripple Effect 146: 2024 Legislative Preview!

Jeff Gittins joins us to discuss upcoming bills for the 2024 Legislative Sessions. A couple key bills, notes, and lots of follow-up tweaks for the last couple years of policy. As always, a great discussion; and check-out Jeff’s Utah Water Law and Water Rights blog.

Ripple Effect 145: 2024 Water Preview: Its Going to be Awesome!

Shaina Shay, Owner and Editor of The Water Report, shares her insights as to what will be big in 2024! PFAS, the Energy Water Nexus, Colorado River, Technology, and Aging Infrastructure all make an appearance. Shaina always brings thoughtful commentary and a unique...

Related Posts