IRS Clarifies Stimulus Payments & Eligibility

[Editor's Note: This article initially stated incorrect dates for the Stimulus Payments. The corrected information is in italics below. Thanks to reader Paula K. Hunter, CPA, for pointing this out.]

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the timeframe for the issuance of tax rebate checks, with payment dates based upon the last two numbers of taxpayer's Social Security Numbers.

The rebates, which are part of the recent economic stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in February, will go to most individuals and couples who had a tax liability in 2007 and who filed a return. For those receiving the rebate by Direct Deposit, those with SSNs ending in 00-20 can expect deposits on May 2; SSNs ending 21-75 on May 9; and those with SSNs ending in 76-99 on May 16.

For those receiving paper-based checks, the earliest group of taxpayers to receive disbursements will be for those with SSNs ending in 00 to 09, who should receive their rebates around the week of May 16, with subsequent groups (11-20; 21-30; 31-40, etc) to follow each week thereafter. For joint filers, the first SSN on their 2007 return will determine the rebate timeframe.

Rebates will vary from $300 to $600 for individuals and $600-$1,200 for joint filers, plus an additional $300 per qualifying child dependent. The exact amount of the tax rebates are determined by the amount of qualifying income for tax year 2007, and there is a phase-in and phase-out structure based upon income and tax liability.

The IRS also clarified the eligibility of filers receiving Social Security, Railroad Retirement and veterans' benefits, allowing income from those sources to count toward the total income requirement of $3,000. These individuals must file a 2007 1040 or 1040A.

Tax rebate funds will be delivered to recipients in the same manner as their 2007 tax refunds, if they had one. For those who had proceeds electronically deposited into a bank account, their rebate payments will be deposited to the same account. Filers with a six month extension can expect a stimulus tax rebate payment between Oct. 15 and the end of the calendar year.

The IRS has set up a special section on its website with information and FAQs about the tax rebates. More information at www.irs.gov. A table with payment dates is at www.irs.gov/irs/article/0,,id=180250,00.html.

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