[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                     March 14, 2008

Taxpayers must file returns 
to get stimulus rebates

      Starting in May, the U.S. Treasury will begin sending economic stimulus payments to more than 130 million people. Most payments will go out through the late spring and summer. Payments will continue through Dec. 31 for returns filed after April 15.

      Most Americans who qualify for the stimulus payment will not have to do anything other than file their 2007 tax returns to receive their payment this year.

Photo: Rita Byers (right) of the Fort McCoy VITA Center helps Master Sgt. Matt Colley of the 84th Training Command (Leader Readiness) with his income tax returns. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Rita Byers (right) of the Fort McCoy VITA Center helps Master Sgt. Matt Colley of the 84th Training Command (Leader Readiness) with his income tax returns. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      Stimulus payments will be direct deposited for taxpayers selecting that option when filing their 2007 tax returns. Taxpayers who already have filed with direct deposit won't need to do anything else to receive the payment. For those who haven't filed yet for 2007, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminds them that direct deposit is the fastest way to get both regular refunds and stimulus payments.

      The IRS will use the 2007 federal income tax return to determine eligibility and calculate the amount of the payment. In most cases, the payment will be the total tax liability (owed) on the return with a maximum amount of $600 for individuals ($1,200 for people who file a joint return) and a minimum of $300 for individuals ($600 for people who file a joint return).

      Even people who have little or no tax liability may qualify for the minimum payment if their tax return has $3,000 or more in qualifying income. Qualifying income includes:

  • Earned income such as wages and net self-employment incomes.

  • Social Security or certain Railroad Retirement benefits.

  •  Veterans' disability compensation, pension or survivors' benefits received from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007.

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not count as qualifying income. Stimulus payments can be reduced to pay off outstanding tax and non-tax liabilities in the same fashion as regular refunds.

      Many people who are low income or only receive the benefits listed above who do not normally have to file income tax returns must file a 2007 return in order to notify the IRS of their qualifying income. The IRS wants these people to turn in a tax return and to qualify for a stimulus payment. They will not get a tax bill and will not owe money because of the payment.

      Everyone listed on the return must have a valid Social Security number to qualify for and receive payments.

      Parents and anyone else eligible for a stimulus payment also will receive an additional $300 for each qualifying child (subject to income phase outs). To qualify, a child must be eligible under the rules for the Child Tax Credit.

      The three VA medical centers in Wisconsin are offering free tax assistance to qualifying veterans and their families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Income limits may apply.

  • For assistance in the Tomah area through the Tomah VA Medical Center, call (608) 372-1242.

  • For assistance in the Madison area through the Middleton VA Medical Center in Madison, call (608) 280-7030.

  • For assistance in the Milwaukee area through the CJ Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, call (414) 384-2000, Ext. 42340.

      For assistance in the Fort McCoy community through the Fort McCoy VITA Center, eligible military personnel (including active-duty, retirees and family members) can call (608) 388-2165 to schedule an appointment or (608) 388-4117 for general questions.

      Personnel can locate the nearest VITA site by calling (800) 906-9887. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program by AARP Tax-Aide provides free tax help, which focuses on people age 60 and older.

      You can locate the nearest AARP Tax-Aide site by calling (888) 227-7669 or by visiting the AARP Web site at http://www.aarp.org.

      For more information on the stimulus payments, visit the IRS Web site at http://www.irs.gov.

(Submitted by Internal Revenue Service, Milwaukee Office.)


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