IRS Tax Tips
April 23, 2008 – TT-2008-Special Edition
Even though the April 15 tax deadline has passed, it is not too late to file for your economic stimulus payment this year. Persons who qualify for the payment must file a 2007 tax return by October 15, 2008.
Millions of people are eligible but may not know it, or think it is too late to get a payment. These are certain retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers who normally don’t file a tax return because their income is too low or nontaxable. This year, they must file to receive their stimulus payment.
The IRS will issue economic stimulus payments of up to $600 for individuals ($1,200 for married couples) plus $300 for each eligible child under age 17 starting in early May, based on 2007 tax returns processed by April 15.
People who have no tax filing requirement but have at least $3,000 in qualifying income must file a simple Form 1040A tax return to obtain their stimulus payment. The law provides a minimum payment of $300 ($600 for married couples) plus the $300 payment per eligible child, if the person (or married couple) qualifies.
Qualifying income includes any combination of earned income, nontaxable combat pay as well as certain payments from Social Security, Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement.
The types of Social Security benefits that are considered qualifying income include retirement, disability and survivor payments. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not qualifying income. The types of Veterans Affairs benefits that are considered qualifying income include disability compensation, disability pension and survivor payments. Qualifying Railroad Retirement payments include the social security equivalent portion of Tier 1 benefits.
People not otherwise required to file an income tax return must file a simple Form 1040A with basic information to ensure that they receive the economic stimulus payment. This information includes their name; address; dependents, if any; amount of their qualifying income (which must be $3,000 or more); direct deposit information and their signatures. Form 1040A and instructions are available on the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
All eligible persons, including qualifying children, must have Social Security numbers. People with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers are not eligible. Also, people cannot be claimed or be eligible to be claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return to qualify for a payment.
More than 400 IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers are open weekdays offering free tax preparation and filing for individuals and families whose income is $40,000 or less and those filing a tax return solely to receive the economic stimulus payment. To find an IRS office near you, go to IRS.gov and click on "Contact IRS," then "Contact Your Local IRS Office."
A select number of volunteer tax assistance sites in local communities may also remain open providing free help. Call 1-800-906-9887 to find the nearest volunteer tax assistance site.
People filing solely to receive a stimulus payment can file their own return electronically by using IRS Free File – Economic Stimulus Payment, also available at www.irs.gov. This program provides free software and free electronic filing of Form 1040A, and it remains open until the October 15 filing deadline to receive a stimulus payment.