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Stimulus Payments: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions by the IRS


Added April of 2008

 

Here are some highlights and additions we found at the IRS website, www.IRS.gov.

Basic Eligibility

Q. What do I need to do to get an economic stimulus payment?

A. All you need to do is file a federal income tax return for 2007. Even if you are not otherwise required to file a tax return, you must file a 2007 return in order to receive a payment this year. Although some filers, such as high-income filers, will not qualify for a stimulus payment, most will.

In most cases, you will fill out your return, reporting all your income, deductions and credits as you normally would. But even if you are not required to file, you must file a 2007 return to get a stimulus payment this year. Low-income workers, Social Security beneficiaries, certain railroad retirees and those who receive certain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs who normally donít file may receive a stimulus payment if they do. The IRS will provide special filing instructions for those who do not otherwise have a filing requirement. The instructions will explain which lines on the tax return the filers need to complete.

If you qualify, the IRS will automatically figure it and send it to you. The IRS will also send you a notice showing the amount of your payment. You do not need to call the IRS or fill out any other special forms.

Q. If I'm filing a tax return this year just to get a stimulus payment, by when do I have to file?

A. 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. [New 3/5/08]

Q. Will my stimulus payment be included in my regular tax refund? Will the checks or direct deposits come at the same time?

A. No and no. There will be two payments. You will receive one payment for your regular tax refund and later you will receive a separate stimulus payment.

Q. I chose direct debit to pay my tax bill. Will my stimulus payment be direct deposited to the same account?

A. No, the account information used for an incoming Direct Debit payment to the IRS cannot be used as the account information for the Direct Deposit of the stimulus payment. People who choose Direct Debit to pay a balance due will receive their stimulus payments by paper check through the mail. [Updated 3/3/08]

Q. I'm eligible for a payment but I still owe federal income tax from a prior year. Will my payment be reduced?

A. Yes. For this purpose, the stimulus payment is treated like any other tax refund. This means that part or all of your payment can be used to pay past-due federal or state income taxes or non-tax federal debt such as student loans and child support. If this occurs, you will receive a letter explaining how the stimulus payment was applied.