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 Rewind! – Silver-Buckshot

This week we are revisiting an earlier episode that is still highly relevant to today's water discussion. We are looking back on episode 43: Silver-Buckshot.Jesse Clark of Stream Landscape Architecture and Planning talks us through his many projects and the...

Ripple Effect Rewind! – River City

This week we are revisiting an earlier episode that is still highly relevant to today's water discussion. We are looking back on episode 21: River City.Soren Simonsen, Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission, discusses the importance of vibrant urban...

Ripple Effect 161: Maven’s Notebook

Chris Austin, publisher of Maven’s Notebook, walks us through her EXCELLENT website covering all things California water news. Maven’s Notebook is brimming with timely and comprehensive information on a number of hot topics. Chris discusses collaboration as both the...

Ripple Effect 160: Great Salt Lake Issues Forum

Lynn de Freitas, Executive Director of Friends of Great Salt Lake, joins us to discuss their 2024 Great Salt Lake Issues Forum – "Great Salt Lake: To Preserve and Protect in Perpetuity, How are We Doing?" A great conversation about how to gauge progress on the Lake...

Ripple Effect 159: Solar Panels Over Canals

Jon Parry, Assistant Manager for Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, joins us to discuss the many benefits of their solar panel demonstration project over the Layton Canal. This project is so cool on so many levels and has some serious potential for scalability...

Ripple Effect 158: HDH Desalination Technology

Christopher Link, Founder, joins us to discuss his HDH Desalination Technology and his HALO Team’s participation in Elon Musk’s X-Prize Competition. Do not miss this conversation! So many interesting and innovative ideas occurring about how to incentivize useful water...

Related Posts