Volume 5 Number 17
April 25, 2008

RETIREES, DISABLED VETS CAN STILL FILE FOR 2008 STIMULUS PAYMENTS

Even though April 15 has passed, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding retirees, disabled veterans and others who normally do not file a tax return that there is still time to submit a 2007 form to receive an economic stimulus payment.

People who have no tax filing requirement but have at least $3,000 in qualifying income should file a simple Form 1040A. Qualifying income includes any combination of earned income, nontaxable combat pay as well as certain payments from Social Security, Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement.

“Don’t worry if you did not file a return by April 15. If you meet the criteria, you are still eligible for a stimulus payment. The quicker you file, the quicker you’ll get your payment,” said Doug Shulman, IRS Commissioner. People must file a return by October 15 to receive an economic stimulus payment this year.

Shulman urged friends and family members to reach out to acquaintances or relatives who may either be unaware of the Economic Stimulus Payment or unable to file the tax return themselves. “We need everyone’s help to make sure all eligible people get the economic stimulus payments,” he added.

For taxpayers who are required to file an income tax return, the IRS will use the 2007 tax return to determine eligibility for economic stimulus payments of up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples). There also is a payment of $300 for each qualifying child younger than 17.
Those not required to file a return because their income is too low or nontaxable must file a tax return to obtain their economic stimulus payment. The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 provides a minimum payment of $300 ($600 for married couples) plus the $300 payment per eligible child, if the person (or married couple) has at least $3,000 in qualifying income.

The types of Social Security benefits that are considered qualifying income include retirement, disability and survivor payments. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not qualifying income. The types of Veterans Affairs benefits that are considered qualifying income include disability compensation, disability pension and survivor payments. Qualifying Railroad Retirement payments include the social security equivalent portion of Tier 1 benefits.

People not otherwise required to file an income tax return must file a simple Form 1040A with basic information to ensure that they receive the economic stimulus payment. This information includes their name; address; dependents, if any; amount of their qualifying income (which must be $3,000 or more); direct deposit information and their signatures. Forms 1040A and instructions are available at www.irs.gov.

Eligible people, including their qualifying children, must have Social Security numbers. Also, people cannot be claimed or be eligible to be claimed as a dependent on another’s tax return. People with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers are not eligible.

There are IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers open during the week to provide assistance. To find an IRS office near you, go to IRS.gov and click on “Contact IRS,” then “Contact Your Local IRS Office.” These sites offer free tax preparation and filing for individuals and families whose income is $40,000 or less. A select number of volunteer tax assistance sites in local communities may also remain open. People can call 1-800-906-9887 to find the volunteer tax assistance site closest to them.

If people want to file their own return electronically, they can still use Free File – Economic Stimulus Payment, also available at www.irs.gov. This program provides free software and free electronic filing of Form 1040A, and it remains open after April 15.