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Economic stimulus payments start arriving next month

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Kayla Bunge
April 19, 2008

Starting next month, many people will begin receiving those long-awaited economic stimulus payments from the United States Treasury Department.


And, of course, everyone’s wondering: “When do I get mine?”


Here are the answers to that question and a few others, according to information from the Internal Revenue Service:


Q: What does it take to get a payment?
A: You must have a valid Social Security number, at least $3,000 in income and file a 2007 federal tax return. Retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers who usually are exempt from filing a tax return must file one this year to receive a payment.
Q: How much money will I get?
A: Payments will range from $300 to $600 for individuals and $600 to $1,200 for people filing jointly. Parents will receive $300 for each eligible child younger than 17.

Some people with a higher income will not receive a payment or will receive a reduced payment. The payment begins to phase out for people with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000 and married couples with adjusted gross incomes of more than $150,000.


To figure out how much you’ll get, the IRS offers a payment calculator at www.irs.gov/app/espc. Have your 2007 tax return handy, because you’ll need it to fill in some of the information.


Q: I’m eligible for a payment, but I still owe federal income tax from a prior year. Will I get less money?
A: Yes. For this purpose, the stimulus payment is treated like any other tax refund and can be used to pay past-due federal or state income taxes or non-tax federal debt such as student loans and child support.

If your payment was used to pay off outstanding debt, you’ll receive a letter explaining how your payment was used.


Q: When will I get my payment?
A: It depends on the last two digits of your Social Security number. Payments will be sent electronically to people who use direct deposit starting May 2. Paper checks will be mailed starting May 16.
Q: Will my payment reduce my 2008 tax refund or increase the amount I owe for 2008?
A: No. The stimulus payment is not taxable.
Q: I’m not eligible right now. Can I still get a payment?
A: Yes. If your circumstances change, and you become eligible after you file your 2007 federal tax return, you can file an amended return.

If you’re not eligible this year, but you become eligible next year, you can claim the stimulus payment next year on your 2008 tax return.


Q: Where do I go for more information?
A: Go to www.irs.gov and click on the “Stimulus Payment” link at the top of the page.

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