Where's My Tax Rebate, Uncle Sam?

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Tom Spring, PC World
PC World
Friday, May 23, 2008; 4:19 PM

Still waiting for your tax rebate from Uncle Sam? I am. And apparently I'm not alone.

Due to a combination of mishandled electronic deposits, IRS software bugs, and tax-program problems, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers have yet to receive their   money or are otherwise being shortchanged.

The Internal Revenue Service acknowledges that it outright botched the direct deposit of 1500 tax rebates by putting the money in the wrong accounts. It also says that nearly 350,000 taxpayers have not received the $300 child credit that is part of the economic-stimulus plan--in some cases because of IRS software glitches, and in other instances because the taxpayers left a check box blank on their tax forms.

And if, like me, you're among the millions who filed taxes online using software such as H&R Block's Tax Cut or Intuit's TurboTax, you might be waiting longer than you expected, too.

"There has been a lot of concern and confusion on this matter," says Intuit spokesperson Julie Miller.

I was one of those confused--and I was   more than a bit concerned.

I used TurboTax desktop software to do my 2007 taxes. I filed online in mid-April, and I opted to have my federal and state refunds deposited directly into my checking account. Like many Americans, I've also been waiting anxiously for the rebate associated with the government's economic-stimulus plan. According to theIRS payment distribution schedule, I should have received my rebate weeks ago.

Last week, however,   I learned that I'll have to wait nearly two months longer because of something that I consider a glitch, but that Intuit and the IRS say I should have known about.

Here's the deal: Since I opted to have my tax refunds deposited into my account, and to have Intuit deduct the $20 e-file fee from the federal refund, I assumed that my   stimulus rebate would be electronically deposited as well. Not so, I was told.

The IRS says that anyone who used TaxCut or TurboTax software and decided to have their $20 e-filing fee deducted from their federal refund would receive their stimulus rebate via snail mail--even if their refund (minus the $20 e-file fee) was to be deposited electronically.

The same applies to people who chose to receive refund anticipatory loans from tax-prep services (such as H&R Block), to taxpayers who opted to have their electronic refund deposits split into two separate accounts, and to those who use a private tax preparer such as H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt.

Intuit's Miller says that had I chosen to pay the $20 e-filing fee with a credit card, the stimulus rebate would have been electronically deposited into my checking account. This explanation made little sense to me.


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