Thursday, February 28, 2008

To get the $300 Stimulus Check you must file a tax return

Seniors who collect only Social Security can qualify for this one-time check, but even those who would not normally have to file a tax return must file to get the money. SSI benefits do not count toward the $3000 income needed to qualify, but SSI recepients who get that much from another source may qualify. Here are answer to common questions below:

From National Council on Aging;

Call Hilary Dalin at (202) 479-6626 or email at hilary.dalin@ncoa.og for more information

Fact Sheet:

Your Clients Who Are Low-Income Social Security Recipients Must File 2007 Tax Return to Receive Economic Stimulus Check

What is the stimulus package?

To help spur a slowing economy, the IRS will send tax rebate checks to over 130 million households beginning in May 2007 and continuing through the summer. Up to 20 million Americans who rely primarily on Social Security income qualify for a rebate check.

How do people qualify for a stimulus tax rebate check?

Generally a person has to have more than $3,000 in income. Even if a person does not have any earned income they can still qualify for a stimulus tax rebate check if their Social Security benefits, Veteran’s Affairs (VA) benefits, and/or railroad retirement benefits equal at least $3,000 annually.

To qualify, they must file a 2007 tax return on IRS Forms 1040 or 1040A with the IRS (even if their income is normally low enough that they are not required to file).

If they file a tax return, how much are they eligible for?

In most cases, they will get payments ranging from $300 to $600. Payments increase by $300 for families with dependent children under the age of 17, up to a maximum stimulus payment of $1,200.

By what date does the 2007 tax return have to be filed and when will the checks be received?

The IRS encourages filing a return if possible, by the regular April 15 deadline to get the rebate check in May 2008. Those filing later than April 15, with or without a tax-filing extension, may delay receipt of the rebate check. Those who qualify for a stimulus check will receive one by the end of 2008 if they file by October 15, 2008. No rebate checks will be issued after 2008 ends.

Will the stimulus payment affect eligibility for needs-based benefits programs?

Receiving a payment under the stimulus package does not effect eligibility for or amount of needs-based benefits programs (i.e. Food Stamps). Specifically, the payment does not count as income in the month it is received and does not count as a resource (asset) for 60 days after the month in which it was received.

Does your organization have questions about the stimulus package? (Please note: this is not intended for inquiries from consumers; We have provided contact info for consumer referrals below.)

Contact Hilary Dalin at the National Council on Aging at hilary.dalin@ncoa.org.

Do you know a low-to-moderate income senior who needs help filing a tax return?

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program provides free tax help to people age 60 and older. To find an AARP Tax Aide site call 1-888-227-7669 or visit the AARP Web site.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program provides help to low- and moderate-income taxpayers. Call 1-800-906-9887 for assistance.

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