Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Want a stimulus check?

Submitting tax return necessary to receive government payment

Surrounded by other tax aides and clients, Connie Young, an AARP tax-aide volunteer, center left, assists Dorothy Roper, Lawrence, in filling our her tax return Tuesday at the Lawrence Senior Center, 745 Vt. Low-income workers, retirees and senior citizens need to file a tax return to get the government's stimulus payment. Many haven't had to file in years but will want to this year to receive the money. The free AARP tax-aide service is offered at the senior center 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday through April 15.

Surrounded by other tax aides and clients, Connie Young, an AARP tax-aide volunteer, center left, assists Dorothy Roper, Lawrence, in filling our her tax return Tuesday at the Lawrence Senior Center, 745 Vt. Low-income workers, retirees and senior citizens need to file a tax return to get the government's stimulus payment. Many haven't had to file in years but will want to this year to receive the money. The free AARP tax-aide service is offered at the senior center 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday through April 15.

March 26, 2008

Advertisement

AARP program helps seniors file taxes

Watch Jack Connolly, site coordinator for AARP's Tax-Aide program serving Lawrence, Baldwin and Ottawa, describe the process for filing a tax return at the Lawrence Senior Center, one way for people who normally don't file such returns to get the documents in place to qualify for a federal economic-stimulus payment, if eligible. Enlarge video

Citizens should file tax return to get stimulus check

The IRS could be looking for you, but that's a good thing. Enlarge video

On the street

Do you already have plans for your economic stimulus check?

Mine is going to help pay off my credit card debt, and that’s about it.

More responses

Reader poll
Have you done your taxes yet?

or See the results without voting

Joy Dryden last drew a paycheck eight years ago, and her husband retired from auto sales back when President Bush - the first one - signed legislation in the Oval Office.

While Uncle Sam no longer requires her to file a tax return, the former antiques dealer is making a point of sending in a 1040-A this year. That's because filling out the few lines of information will be expected to produce a $600 check for the Drydens this summer.

That's thanks to the economic stimulus package signed by the second President Bush.

"I just can't believe it," said Dryden, waiting patiently for tax-filing assistance Tuesday afternoon at the Lawrence Senior Center. "I haven't had anything given to me in my entire life. This really will be something."

But the payment will be something that many retirees just like her - or others receiving veterans benefits, railroad benefits or working for low wages - will miss out on unless they take a few moments to file a tax return.

Filing a return is the only way for the IRS to know whether you qualify, how much you should get and where to send the money. And people who don't have to file often don't.

"We don't want to miss anybody," said Michael Devine, an IRS spokesman. "For millions of Americans, filing a tax return is not routine because their income either is so low that it's not taxable or their benefits are not taxable.

"This year, filing a 2007 return is the only way to receive an economic stimulus payment. Congress asked us, the IRS, to give the money away, and that's a good thing. Now we want to get everybody to get their tax returns filed so they can get their stimulus payments."

Jack Connolly, site coordinator for the AARP Tax-Aide assistance site at the senior center, 745 Vt., said the tax-preparation program already had helped about 800 people fill out tax returns this season in Lawrence, Baldwin City and Ottawa. Of those filings, he figures, at least 15 percent are for people who normally wouldn't need to send in a return.

It's the stimulus program that is drawing them in - the IRS sent out information packets this week to recipients of Social Security and veterans benefits - and he knows there are more people out there who could use some help.

That's why the center is participating in Super Saturday, a national effort promoted by the IRS to encourage people who normally don't have to file returns to get out and get help getting their returns turned in.

Trained volunteers will be available from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the center, Connolly said, and the entire process takes only about 20 minutes once seated with a volunteer at a computer.

"For most people it will be $300. For some people it will be $600," he said. "This is the only thing you have to do, and it's painless."

Even better: Filing a return also may help people recover other tax revenues available through other programs, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the state Homestead Exemption or a sales-tax refund on food purchases.

Bring in a blank check, and volunteers also can set up direct deposit so that someone filing by April 15 would be set to receive a stimulus payment sometime in May.

One key, Connolly said: Filing a tax return is nothing to be afraid of, whether someone does it at home, with a paid preparer or through a volunteer.

"People think that if they file a return, the IRS will come after them," Connolly said. "That's not it at all. This is totally free. It's $300, and it's yours."

Check the schedule

The Internal Revenue Service plans to send more than 130 million economic stimulus payments beginning May 2. People filing tax returns and opting for direct deposit will get their stimulus payments first.

Stimulus payments will be sent according to a schedule based on the last two digits of a taxpayer's Social Security number. For married couples filing jointly, the first number on the return will determine when the payment will be sent.

For direct deposit, taxpayers with these numbers can expect payments in their accounts by these dates, provided their returns have been filed and processed by April 15:

¢ 0020, May 2

¢ 2175, May 9

¢ 7699, May 16

Paper checks will be in the mail on this schedule:

¢ 0009, May 16

¢ 10-18, May 23

¢ 1925, May 30

¢ 2638, June 6

¢ 3951, June 13

¢ 5263, June 20

¢ 6475, June 27

¢ 7687, July 4

¢ 8899, July 11

Comments

gr 6 years, 4 months ago

"People think that if they file a return, the IRS will come after them,"

Now there's a thought! Is this an enticement for those who defraud the government to file a return to get a few more dollars? Clever.

0

SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 4 months ago

What the country needs are permanent tax cuts for all wage earners with a corresponding reduction in the size, scope and reach of government.

0

LogicMan 6 years, 4 months ago

"What the country needs ... a corresponding reduction in the size, scope and reach of government."

A constitutional line-item veto for the President, and presidents not afraid to use it, would help.

Think globally, but act locally too. Vote NO on Tuesday's economy-squashing tax increase!

0

staff04 6 years, 4 months ago

BH99--Because the Republicans in the Senate insisted on it (and the Majority, without 60 votes, had to concede). The House-passed legislation did not include rebates for people who had no tax liability.

0

fu7il3 6 years, 4 months ago

"having a hard time understanding why someone who didn't pay taxes in 2007 gets a tax rebate:."

Well, you'd hate for them to feel left out. We'd hate to hurt someone's feelings.

0

justthefacts 6 years, 4 months ago

the theory is not to return money to those who paid it. The theory is to give money away that will be spent - thus "stimulating the economy."

Not sure what economic professor the lawmakers and President consulted on this one.

Usually, taking money out of savings to spend it does not decrease debt. Rather, it increases the likelyhood of bankruptcy.

Want to stimulate the economy? Make more fake money.

0

valgrlku 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm really confused - my IRS mailer this week says that if you didn't earn at least $3000 last year (single earner), you get bupkus. So, what the hell is this article about? Old people who didn't work can still get the check , but my under $3000 (just barely) GTA salary doesn't qualify me for one, even though I worked? Very confusing!

0

GretchenJP 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm ready for my stimulating check.

0

Kaw Pickinton 6 years, 4 months ago

So we get a check from the fed. The fed has to borrow the money from china to pay us (those who pay taxes and make over 3K a year). We all go buy crap made in china and this helps who how?

/my share goes straight to the dentist.

0

notajayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

valgrlku (Anonymous) says:

"I'm really confused - my IRS mailer this week says that if you didn't earn at least $3000 last year (single earner), you get bupkus. So, what the hell is this article about? Old people who didn't work can still get the check , but my under $3000 (just barely) GTA salary doesn't qualify me for one, even though I worked? Very confusing!"

You had to have had a certain level of qualifying income. That does not necessarily mean earned income (typically wages from working). For the purposes of this credit, certain retirement benefits (including social security) qualify.

This is no different than certain other credits, especially refundable ones - you have to make above a certain income before you can get the additional child tax credit, too.


Bowhunter99 (Anonymous) says:

"having a hard time understanding why someone who didn't pay taxes in 2007 gets a tax rebate:."

Well, first of all, this is actually a credit for the 2008 tax year. But rather than wait until people file their 2008 tax return, they are dispensing it now, and using your 2007 income as a basis. That actually works out pretty good for a lot of people - those who did not qualify based on 2007 income but will for 2008 will still be able to get the credit when they file next year's return. And if you qualified based on your 2007 income but actually wouldn't have if you'd waited until 2008's return, you don't have to give the money back.

There are two kinds of credits, refundable and non-refundable. Non-refundable credits can only reduce the amount of tax you owe (no matter how much you have in credits, you can only bring your tax bill down to zero) - these include things like the child tax credit, energy credits, foreign tax credits, and educational credits. Then there are refundable credits, which if they exceed the amount you owe, you do get back in a refund - these include the earned income credit and the additional child tax credit.

This stimulus credit is a refundable credit, and it's being paid out now for those who qualify and want it now instead of waiting for the 2008 tax filing season.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.