More Tax Rebate Answers

Kiplinger.com
Saturday, February 16, 2008; 12:00 AM

After my Will You Get a Rebate Check? column appeared on Monday, I received dozens of follow-up questions about how the rebate will work.

On February 13, President Bush signed the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, which authorizes the rebate checks. That day the IRS revealed more information about who will receive the checks and what they'll need to do to get the money. Here are answers to many of your questions:

How can I figure out how much my refund will be?

Use our new Kiplinger Tax Rebate Calculator, which will figure how much you will receive based on your income, filing status, number of children and tax liability.

Will I need to do anything or file any extra forms to get my rebate?

Probably not. Most people simply need to file their 2007 tax returns, then the IRS does the calculations and automatically sends out the money. If you signed up to have your tax refund deposited directly into your savings or checking account, then you'll get your rebate money through direct deposit, too, which is the fastest way to get the cash.

The first rebates should go out in May. Some people who receive their rebates through direct deposit may even find the money in their accounts before they receive the IRS's notice that it is coming.

How do I get credit for a rebate if I don't earn enough money to have to file taxes? My only income is from Social Security.

You're in the one group of people -- and there are an estimated 20 million of you -- whodoneed to take an extra step to get the money. Millions of people who don't usually have to file tax returns will need to file a 1040A or 1040 for 2007 to get their rebates.

Low-income seniors and disabled veterans (and their widows) who don't earn enough to qualify for the full rebate may still qualify for checks of $300 (or $600 for joint filers), as long as they have at least $3,000 in income from Social Security, veterans' benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, a job or self-employment.

Even if you don't generally file a tax return, you'll need to report your 2007 benefits on line 20a of Form 1040 or line 14a of Form 1040A.

You can't use the simplest tax form -- the 1040EZ -- because you can't report Social Security or veterans' benefits on that form.


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