Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Check's in the Mail, or, Economic Stimulus Payments--What's in it for You?

As many have already heard or read by now, the Internal Revenue Service will be sending economic stimulus payments to more than 130 million households beginning in May. Eligible individuals will receive up to $600, while married couples will receive $1,200, and parents will also receive up to $300 for each eligible child under 17. In most cases, individuals who qualify for the rebate will need simply to file their tax returns in order to receive their payment. Per the IRS website:

To receive a payment, taxpayers must have a valid Social Security number, $3,000 of income and file a 2007 federal tax return. IRS will take care of the rest. Eligible people will receive up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples), and parents will receive an additional $300 for each eligible child younger than 17. Millions of retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers who usually are exempt from filing a tax return must do so this year in order to receive a stimulus payment. The IRS has posted a lot of information about the Economic Stimulus Payment (or Rebate process, including a Frequently Asked Questions page and information for individuals who do not normally file a tax return, including Social Security, Veterans Affairs, or Railroad Retirement recipients and low-wage workers and the self-employed.

A few important notes regarding rebate payments, deadlines, and protecting yourself from possible identity theft scams:

  • Per the IRS’s Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center webpage, “payments could be less, depending on tax liability and Adjusted Gross Income. Phase out reduction begins at $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers.”

  • The IRS website ( also has links to downloadable and printable tax forms and instructions for filing your tax return. Form 1040 tax booklets are available locally at the Glendale Main Post Office (313 E. Broadway). Form 1040 booklets and additional federal forms are available at the IRS building located at 225 W. Broadway, 2nd floor, in Glendale (open 8 a.m. — 4 p.m. weekdays).

  • “The IRS encourages everyone to file by the normal April 15 tax deadline: The sooner you file the sooner you can receive your stimulus payment. But if you have obtained a valid six-month extension to file or if you are filing to establish your eligibility for the stimulus payment, filing by Oct. 15 means the IRS can process your return and issue a stimulus payment before the end of the year.”

  • “The IRS cannot, by law, issue any economic stimulus payment checks or Direct Deposits after Dec. 31, 2008. You must file your simple tax form with enough time left in the calendar year for the IRS to process it and issue your economic stimulus payment before the end of the year.”

  • The IRS has posted a warning about telephone and e-mail scams using the IRS name. The scams are an attempt by identity thieves to gather personal and financial information from individuals. The IRS reminds tax payers that the only way to receive a stimulus payment is through filing a 2007 federal income tax return. “If someone claiming to be from the IRS calls or e-mails you about the payments and asks you for a Social Security, bank account or credit card number, it's a scam. The scammers are trying to get your personal and financial information so they can empty your bank account, run up charges on your credit card and more.”

  • Per the IRS, “Those who have received a questionable e-mail claiming to come from the IRS may forward it to a mailbox the IRS has established to receive such e-mails,, using instructions contained in an article titled “How to Protect Yourself from Suspicious E-Mails or Phishing Schemes.” Following the instructions will help the IRS track the suspicious e-mail to its origins and shut down the scam. Find the article by visiting and entering the words “suspicious e-mails” into the search box in the upper right corner of the front page.”

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