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Thursday, February 26, 2009

2008 Tax Rebate

The Worcester Public Library has had a steady stream of people asking about the "stimulus check." That question created some confusion around here so here are the facts.

In 2008 the government notified individuals by mail who qualified for either a $300 or $600 tax rebate. For most of us the checks followed soon after. The folks who were receiving social security or railroad benefits had to file a 2007 1040A in order to get their checks. The end date for filing was October 15, 2008 because the government wanted all the checks out to individuals by December 31, 2008.

So what happens to those people who either did not 1) receive the letter of notification, 2) did not understand the letter and didn't file, and/or 3) did not receive the correct amount for one reason or another? These people did not lose out and are still eligible for the rebate. Here's how it works.

During this tax file season the government is offering something called a "Recovery Rebate." The following is a list of those who are eligible:

  • Individuals who did not receive their stimulus payment

  • Those who received less than the maximum

  • Families who gained an additional qualifying child in 2008

  • Individuals who could be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return in 2007, but who cannot be claimed as a dependent on another return in 2008.

  • Individuals who did not have a valid Social Security number in 2007 but who did receive one in 2008.

If any of your patrons qualifiy they need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on Form 1040, 1040a, or 1040ez. The instructions for each of these forms will show you what lines to use.

However, this is a credit. These people will not receive a tax rebate check in the mail as everyone else did in 2008. Instead, the credit will be included in the tax refund for 2008. If they are doing their tax form by hand the government will figure out the credit they are do. If they are filing electronically the software will figure out the credit for them.

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CMRLS Regional Reference Center, Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Sq, Worcester MA 01608