Qualifying for the IRS tax rebate

Monday, March 10, 2008

 

How to get the check from the IRS

Filing a tax return is a must to qualify for a rebate.

Americans are soon going receive a check in the mail from Uncle Sam to help stimulate the economy. It's known as the "stimulus payment," "tax rebate" or "refund."

Many people are confused about whether or not they will get this money. If you received benefits or have earned $3,000 (or more) in 2007 you qualify to receive a rebate check.

Qualifying income includes Social Security or disability benefits, certain railroad retirement benefits, certain veterans' benefits and earned income from wages, salaries, tips and self-employment.

Important: Even if you do not owe taxes you MUST file a 2007 tax return to receive a rebate check.

Here's how to get the rebate:

  • If you normally file a tax return, file as usual, by April 15. Rebate checks will begin to go out in May 2008.
  • If you don't normally file a tax return, you will need to file a 1040A or a 1040 form to get your check. List the amount of your 2007( social security or diability) benefits on line 20a of Form 1040 or line 14a of Form 1040A.
  • If you have already filed a 2007 return but did not report these benefits or other qualifying income, amend your return by filing form 1040X.
  • If you choose to receive your rebate by direct deposit it will arrive quicker.
  • For more information contact the Internal Revenue Service at www.irs.gov and see below.

Eligibility

-If you earned less than $3,000 you do not qualify for a tax rebate. -If you earned more than $3,000 but paid no taxes you will receive $300*. -If you earned more than $3,000 and paid taxes you will receive $600*. -If you have children under 17, add $300 per child.

*If married, the couple receives $600. *If married, the couple receives $1,200.

For people filing joint tax returns, only a total of $3,000 of qualifying income from both spouses is required to be eligible for a payment.

Q & A

If I owe back taxes, will I still get a rebate check? No, it will be applied to your tax debt. Also, if you owe past-due child support, or delinquent student loans, it will most likely be withheld.

I don't owe any taxes. Am I still eligible? Yes. Even if you did not make enough money to owe taxes in 2007, you are still eligible to receive the rebate but you must file a tax return (see above).

What if I collect Social Security benefits but I am claimed by one of my children as a dependent? You will not be eligible for the rebate. Anyone who is claimed as a dependent is not eligible.

What if I already filed a 1040 but did not report some of my benefits? You can file a 1040X to amend your return, which will not increase your tax liability at all and might make you eligible for the rebate.

Will the rebate count as income for purposes of my Social Security benefits? No. The rebate will not have any effect on federal benefits.

Free Tax Help Available

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides help to low and moderate income taxpayers. Call 1-800-906-9887 to locate the nearest VITA site.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) provides free tax help to people age 60 and older. For more information on TCE call 1-800-829-1040.

As part of the IRS-sponsored TCE Program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program. To find an AARP Tax Aide site call 1-888-227-7669 or visit www.aarp.org/money/taxaide.

 

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