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2008 Economic Stimulus Payment (Tax Rebate Checks) FAQs

What is the Stimulus Payment?
The Stimulus Payment, also known as the Economic Stimulus Payment or Rebate, is a refundable rebate credit for eligible individuals. The rebate credit will be sent to eligible taxpayers beginning in May of 2008 and will be based on their 2007 tax return.

How much will I get? And what are the "cutoff" income limits?
Most taxpayers will get the maximum amount of $600 ($1,200 for those who file a joint return). The minimum payment is $300 ($600 for those who file a joint return). There is an additional $300 for each child on the tax return that has a Social Security number and is a qualifying child for the Child Tax Credit. The payment is limited to a maximum of $600 ($1,200 if filing a joint return) or the total tax liability on the return, whichever is less.

The payment is subject to maximum income limits and will be reduced by 5% of the amount of income in excess of $75,000 ($150,000 if filing a joint return). If your income is less than $3,000 and you have other qualifying stimulus income, you will receive the minimum payment of $300 ($600 if you are filing jointly). If you devide 600 by 5%, you'll find that the "phase out range" for individual is 12,000. So the hard "cutoff" income limit for individuals should be 87,000. Similarly, the cutoff income for MFJ couples are 174,000.

For the estimated figure of your rebate check, use IRS's Economic Stimulus Payment Calculator.

If your qualifying income is below $3,000 you are not eligible for the Stimulus Payment.

How do I get my check?
Most taxpayers need to do nothing other than file their 2007 tax return as they normally would. The IRS will determine individual eligibility and the amount of your rebate check based on your 2007 tax return. Your payment will be issued to you by the IRS in the same manner your refund check was issued. If you would like to receive your check by direct deposit, you can request this on your tax return. If you received a bank product such as a Refund Anticipation Loan from your tax preparation firm, the IRS will mail a check to the address on your tax return. If you have moved and will receive your Stimulus Payment check in the mail, make sure you file Form 8822, Change of Address, with the IRS and submit a change of address with the U.S. Post Office.

When will I get my check?
The IRS will begin mailing on May 2. The date you receive your payment depends on the following:

  • When your return is/was received and processed by the IRS;
  • The last two digits of the primary SSN; and
  • Whether the payment is being mailed or deposited into your bank account.

The IRS has released the following payment schedule for returns received and processed by April 15, 2008:

• Direct Deposit Payments

Last two digits of the Primary SSN: Date payment should be sent to your bank account:
00 - 20 May 2
21 – 75 May 9
76 - 99 May 16

• Paper Check

Last two digits of the Primary SSN: Date payment should be mailed:
00 - 09 May 16
10 – 18 May 23
19 - 25 May 30
26 - 38 June 6
39 – 51 June 13
52 – 63 June 20
64 – 75 June 27
76 – 87 July 4
88 – 99 July 11

A small percentage of tax returns will require additional time to process and to compute a stimulus payment amount. For these returns, stimulus payments may not be issued in accordance with the schedule above, even if the tax return was processed by April 15. If you file your tax return after April 15 the IRS will continue to make weekly payments through the end of December. To ensure you receive your stimulus payment this year, you must file a tax return by Oct. 15.

When will I receive a rebate check if I filed my tax return after April 15? If you file your return after April 15, 2008, you should receive your rebate check about two weeks after you receive your refund check.

What is the latest I can file a tax return and still receive a rebate check? Taxpayers should file a tax return by October 15, 2008 to ensure they will receive their rebate check.

Who is eligible?
To receive an economic Stimulus Payment individuals must: . Have qualifying income of greater than $3,000, and . Have a Social Security number, and . Not qualify as a dependent of another taxpayer

What is qualifying income?
Qualifying income for the economic Stimulus Payment is: . Earned income such as wages and net self-employment . Social Security benefits . Social Security equivalent Tier I Railroad Retirement benefits . Veteran’s disability compensation, pension, or survivors’ benefits received from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs . Combat pay if elect to include in earned income

What income does not qualify? There are many types of income that do not qualify for the Economic Stimulus Payment, including: . Supplemental Security Income (SSI) . Investment income such as; dividends, interest, and capital gains . Non-veterans or non-Social Security pensions such as normal retirement distributions, IRA distributions, and non-Social Security equivalent Railroad Retirement payments . Unemployment compensation . Lottery or gambling winnings

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? Supplemental Security Income is a program administered by the Social Security Administration and financed by general funds from the U.S. Treasury. Qualified individuals must be disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old and have limited income and resources. SSI is not based on prior work or a family member’s prior work like Social Security Benefits.

What if I don’t have to file a tax return?
You must file a tax return to qualify for and receive your Stimulus Payment check, if you are not required to file a tax return because your income is below the minimum filing requirements or your only income is from a VA disability or Social Security, you should file a return to report your payments and eligibility. The IRS has emphasized that individuals with no filing requirements will not get a tax bill. The tax return is being used to qualify for and issue the Stimulus Payments.

What if I already filed my tax return and my qualified income is too low?
If you received qualified income that is not normally reported on your tax return, such as Social Security benefits or qualifying benefits from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, you should file Form 1040X and report the non-taxable benefits and the amounts that you received.

How do I report qualifying benefits?
If you have qualifying benefits such as Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or qualifying VA benefits, report them on Form 1040, line 20A or Form 1040A, Line 14A. The IRS will not recognize the qualifying Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or VA benefits if they are not reported on the appropriate line.

How do I find out the amount of my qualifying income if I don’t receive an annual statement?
If you do not receive a Form 1099 reporting your benefits, you may estimate the total received by taking your monthly benefit amount and multiplying it by the number of months you received it during 2007. For example: John is a totally disabled veteran whose only income is a veteran’s disability pension and Social Security benefits. John does not know what his annual income is from either source. He does know that he received $600 a month from the VA and $1,000 a month from Social Security and he received both benefits for the entire year. Since John does not have to file a tax return normally, multiply his monthly income ($600 + $1,000) by the total months he received it (12). John received $19,200 in benefits last year. Report the $19,200 on Form 1040A, Line 14A or Form 1040, Line 20A.

Is there anything else I need to know?
Yes, the IRS will send two informational notices concerning the Economic Stimulus Payments. The first notice will explain the stimulus payment program. The second notice will confirm the taxpayer’s eligibility, payment amount, and the approximate time table for the payment. Taxpayers should save the second notice for their 2008 tax records.

Who do I contact if I have additional questions? More information on IRS e-file can also be found at

What happens to my 2008 tax return if I didn’t qualify for the 2008 rebate check?
The Stimulus Payment will be a credit on the 2008 tax return. Those taxpayers that did not qualify to receive the 2008 rebate check may be eligible for the rebate credit when they file their 2008 tax return.

What happens to my 2008 tax return if I do receive a 2008 rebate check?
If you received all of the allowed rebate in your 2008 rebate check, there will be no affect to your 2008 tax return. If you received more rebate than the allowed rebate when filing your 2008 tax return, there will be no affect. If you received less rebate than the allowed rebate when filing your 2008 tax return, you will be eligible for the rebate credit of the difference.

Why is the statement "Stimulus Payment" across the top of my tax return?
The IRS has requested the statement "Stimulus Payment" be printed across the top of all tax returns filed by those individuals who would otherwise not be required to file a tax return. This will help speed up the processing of these returns for their rebate check disbursement.

If all of my income was tax free in 2007 because I was in a combat zone for the year, will I qualify for a rebate check?
Combat pay is considered qualifying income for the stimulus payment. You must file a tax return to receive your check. Please make sure you include all of your dependent children under age 17 on your stimulus payment return. You will not have to pay any taxes on your return and you must write “Stimulus Payment” across the top of your return.

Will taxpayers who are otherwise not required to file have to repay the money received from the rebate check on a 2008 tax return?
Individuals that receive a stimulus check this year will not be required to repay the stimulus payment on a future tax return. If the taxpayer correctly filed their 2007 tax return and they received a stimulus payment greater than the actual computation of the credit on their 2008 tax return, there will be no penalty and they do not have to repay the extra payment received. If the taxpayer was not otherwise required to file a tax return for 2007, and filed one for the stimulus payment, they will not have to pay taxes on or claim as income, the stimulus payment received.

If I was already claimed as a dependent on my parent’s tax return, will I receive a stimulus payment based on my own tax return?
An individual that is can be claimed as a dependent on another return does not qualify for the rebate. If the individual claims the personal exemption for themselves on their 2008 tax return and otherwise qualifies, they will receive a refundable rebate credit.

Does a deceased taxpayer qualify for the stimulus payment?
If the deceased taxpayer qualifies for the stimulus payment, their estate will receive the stimulus payment. If the final return was married filing jointly and there is no other appointed representative for the deceased taxpayer, the surviving spouse will receive the stimulus payment.

What do I do if I receive a Stimulus Payment Package from the IRS and I have already filed my tax return?
If you have already filed your tax return, you can destroy the package you receive. The packages are being mailed from a joint effort between the Social Security Administration and the IRS to ensure that all eligible individuals that traditionally do not file a tax return are aware of the program.

Will my stimulus payment affect my Food Stamps, SSI, or other benefits I receive?
The stimulus payment program will not affect any public assistance program at the federal, state, or local level that are financed with federal funds. Programs such as SSI, food stamps, and other state welfare programs are financed with federal funds.

What are the requirements and the amounts for the stimulus payment?
The rebate amount is based on the lesser of your income tax liability if your AGI is greater than your standard deduction amount plus the personal exemption amount (twice the personal exemption amount if MFJ) or $300 ($600 if MFJ). The maximum amount is $600 ($1,200 if MFJ). In addition you may receive $300 for each child claimed as a dependent that is under 17 years old and has a social security number.

What will happen to my rebate check if I owe back taxes or other federal debts and my refund check is being applied to those debts?
If you owe back taxes or other state or federal debts that are being collected through the federal government and your refund check is being used to pay the debt, your rebate check will also be used to pay the debt. If your debt is paid in full without applying all of your rebate check you will receive a check for the remaining portion.

If I am filing jointly with my spouse and one of us is an injured spouse, what is the stimulus payment amount?
The amount will be split 50/50, including the amount for each qualifying child.

I am required to file a tax return, but I am not receiving a refund. Can I fill out the direct deposit information on my tax return so that my stimulus payment will be deposited into my bank account?
Yes. Filling out the bank routing and account information will allow your stimulus payment to be direct deposited.

I am otherwise not required to file a tax return, but I am filing to receive my stimulus payment. Can I fill out the direct deposit information on my stimulus payment return so that my payment will be deposited into my bank account?
Yes. Filling out the bank routing and account information will allow your stimulus payment to be direct deposited.

I have an ITIN, but my spouse has a valid Social Security number. Can we get a payment?
If you and your spouse file a joint return, you will not get a stimulus payment. If your spouse files a separate return, your spouse may qualify for a payment, based on his or her income deductions and credits.

For more Qestions and Answers, visit IRS's Stimulus Payments: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions page.

Updated 04/10/2008


This material is provided for general and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice. Individuals who wish to invest in retirement plans should contact their tax and financial advisors regarding their specific legal or tax situation.


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