Basic Information on the Stimulus Payments
You've heard about it. Now find out how to get yours.
What is it? It's an economic stimulus payment that more than 130 million households will receive starting in May. It's not taxable, and it won't reduce your 2007 or 2008 refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2008 return.
Are you eligible? The vast majority of people who file a 2007 income tax return qualify, and many who don't regularly file a tax return may qualify as well. You're eligible if you have a valid Social Security Number (SSN), can't be claimed as a dependent on a tax return and have either an income tax liability or "qualifying income" of at least $3,000. Qualifying income includes any combination of earned income and certain benefits from Social Security, Veterans Affairs or Railroad Retirement. Additional information is below, and a full legal description is available in Revenue Procedure 2008-21.
Both people listed on a "married filing jointly" return must have valid SSNs to qualify for the payment - if only one has a valid SSN, neither can receive the payment.
Can you use an ITIN instead of an SSN? Taxpayers with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) instead of an SSN are not eligible to receive a stimulus payment. Both people listed on a "married filing jointly" return must have valid SSNs to qualify for the payment - if only one has a valid SSN, neither can receive the payment.
Not eligible at the current time? If your circumstances change and you become eligible after you file your 2007 federal tax return, you can always file an amended return using Form 1040X. File the form after April 14, 2008, and allow 8-12 weeks of processing time before making any inquiries about your payment. See a sample with instructions.
If you're not eligible this year but you become eligible next year, you can claim the economic stimulus payment next year on your 2008 tax return.
How do you get it? Just file a a federal tax return for 2007, even if you normally don't have to because your income usually doesn't meet the filing threshhold. You can't get it if you don't file.
How much will you get? The actual amount depends on the information contained on your tax return. Eligible individuals will receive between $300 and $600. Those who are eligible and file a joint return will receive a total of between $600 and $1,200. Those with children will get an additional $300 for each qualifying child. To qualify, a child must be eligible under the Child Tax Credit and have a valid Social Security number. We have various examples for you check out.
The payments phase out at certain income levels, so those with higher incomes may receive a reduced payment or even no payment.
Can you estimate your payment? The IRS has created an online calculator that will allow you to answer a few questions and get a quick estimate of your payment amount.
How will you receive the payment? Be sure to choose direct deposit when you file your tax return, even if you aren't due a regular tax refund on your tax return. That way, the stimulus payment will go right to your bank account. Otherwise, we'll mail you a check.
When will you get your payment? Starting May 2, payments will be electronically transmitted to direct deposit accounts. Paper checks will be mailed starting May 16. The payments are based on the last two-digits of the mail filer's Social Security number. The IRS has issued a schedule for payments as direct deposits or paper checks.
Economic stimulus payments will be issued according to the last two-digits of the main filer's Social Security number. People who use direct deposit also will be among the first to receive the payments starting May 2. Paper checks will be put in the mail starting May 16.
Last two SSN digits:
Payments will be mailed by:
00 through 09
10 through 18
19 through 25
26 through 38
39 through 51
52 through 63
64 through 75
76 through 87
88 through 99
People who file a return after April 15 will receive their economic stimulus payment, but probably about two weeks later than the schedule shows. A return must be filed by October 15 in order to receive a stimulus payment this year. See the online calculator for an estimate of the amount you will receive.
For more information go to:
Hope this answers a few questions.