Married members of the
military may receive economic stimulus payments this fall, even if
their spouses or children donít have Social Security Numbers (SSN),
following the newly-enacted HEART Act (Heroes Earnings Assistance and
Relief Tax Act of 2008). Prior to this new legislation, some members
of the military did not receive stimulus payments, or received a
reduced amount, due to the absence of a SSN for a spouse or child.
pay can count for stimulus rebates
federal tax purposes, the U.S. armed forces includes officers
and enlisted personnel in all regular and reserve units
controlled by the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, Navy and Air
Force. The Coast Guard and National Guard also are included, but
not the U.S. Merchant Marine or the American Red Cross.
combat pay is not counted as income and is not taxable. For the
purposes of receiving an economic stimulus payment, however,
military personnel serving in combat zones have the option of
including their nontaxable combat pay on their 2007 or 2008
income tax returns if it helps their eligibility for the 2008
economic stimulus payments.
receive the stimulus payment this year, combat zone personnel or
their spouses must file a 2007 income tax return by Oct. 15.
Otherwise, they can claim the economic stimulus payment on next
yearís income tax return.
personnel who normally would not file an income tax return
because their 2007 income is not taxable can file a simple Form
1040A with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if they want to
receive the economic stimulus payment.
should report their nontaxable combat pay on Line 40b of Form
1040A to show at least $3,000 in qualifying income.
Department of Defense lists the amount of excluded combat pay,
along with the designation, "Code Q," in Box 12 of
has developed Package 1040A-3, a publication containing tax
tips, a sample Form 1040A and a blank Form 1040A. The package
contains everything needed to file the return immediately.
In November, the Treasury
will send checks and direct deposits to military families who
qualify for these stimulus payments.
The Internal Revenue
Service (IRS) estimates that there are more than 10,000 military
families who will receive the additional stimulus payments.
A specific time frame for
the payments will be announced later this year.
"The IRS wants to
make it as easy as possible for military families to get the
stimulus payments authorized by the new law. People who already have
filed donít need to do anything else to get their money. Weíll
do the rest," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "We will
work as quickly as possible to put these new provisions in place
while making sure the rest of the stimulus payment program continues
smoothly through the summer and fall."
To get a stimulus
payment, eligible taxpayers must file a 2007 tax return. For married
couples who already have filed a joint return, no further action is
necessary. Generally, married couples qualify for an economic
stimulus payment of up to $1,200, plus an additional $300 for each
qualifying child younger than 17.
Because of the special
challenges involved in making these newly authorized payments, the
IRS is taking the additional step of working with the Department of
Defense to ensure that eligible filers get their money.
"The IRS wants to make it as easy as possible for military
families to get the stimulus payments authorized by the new
Originally, the Economic
Stimulus Act of 2008, enacted in February, barred economic-stimulus
payments to anyone filing a return who did not have a SSN.
Returns using any number
issued by the IRS, such as an individual taxpayer identification
number were not eligible. For joint filers, this meant that both
spouses must use valid SSNs.
Those barred by the
original law from receiving a stimulus payment included military
members filing jointly with spouses who were ineligible to get a SSN.
In addition, because they were not eligible for stimulus payments,
they could not receive an additional $300 payment for each eligible
Married couples filing
joint returns who now are eligible for stimulus payments under the
new law will receive a notice from the IRS telling them the amount
of their payment and the date it will be issued. Payments will be
made by check or direct deposit.
Those who chose direct
deposit for their regular tax refund will typically get their
stimulus payment by direct deposit.
However, anyone who chose
a refund-anticipation loan, had tax-preparation fees deducted from
their refund or entered into other refund-related transactions, will
get a check, instead.
The payments are based on
2007 income tax returns, including basic returns filed by eligible
low-income people, solely to claim a stimulus payment.
Those who have not yet
filed, including members of the military who received nontaxable
combat pay, should do so as soon as possible.
For more information,
visit the Web site http://www.irs.gov
or in the Fort McCoy community, military-eligible personnel can call
submitted by the Internal Revenue Service.)