About the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008
Under the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, more than 130 million American households will receive economic stimulus payments beginning in May. The only way to get one this year is to file a federal tax return for 2007. This filing requirement also applies to some people who do not normally file, including many low-income people and recipients of Social Security, certain benefits received from the Department of Veterans Affairs and certain Railroad Retirement benefits.
Below are several of the most common FAQs that many taxpayers may have regarding the stimulus checks. The FAQs below are general questions about the Economic Stimulus Act. For a full list of all the FAQs that the IRS has addressed, click here.
*If your question is not addressed or not fully answered in the FAQ section below, you would need to contact the IRS directly for more information. TaxSlayer does not handle or issue any of the Economic Stimulus payments that are being made. Any further questions should be made directly to the IRS for the most comprehensive and timely response. You can contact the IRS by phone at 1-800-829-1040 or by visiting their website at www.irs.gov.
Q. What do I need to do to get an economic stimulus payment?
A. All you need to do is file a federal income tax return for 2007. Even if you are not otherwise required to file a tax return, you must file a 2007 return in order to receive a payment this year. Although some filers, such as high-income filers, will not qualify for a stimulus payment, most will.
In most cases, you will fill out your return, reporting all your income, deductions and credits as you normally would. But even if you are not required to file, you must file a 2007 return to get a stimulus payment this year. Low-income workers, Social Security beneficiaries, certain railroad retirees and those who receive certain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs who normally don’t file may receive a stimulus payment if they do. The IRS will provide special filing instructions for those who do not otherwise have a filing requirement. The instructions will explain which lines on the tax return the filers need to complete.
You do not need to calculate the amount of the stimulus payment. If you qualify, the IRS will automatically figure it and send it to you. The IRS will also send you a notice showing the amount of your payment. You do not need to call the IRS or fill out any other special forms.
- If you only have Social Security Income: The IRS has not edited their checks within their e-file processing system to allow returns with only Social Security income to be e-filed. If all you report on your return is SS income, your return will reject. The IRS recommendation is to report all of your Social Security benefits, and then enter $1 in interest so that the return can get accepted. To do this within a TaxSlayer account, from the Main Menu, select Income Menu > Interest or Dividends (Sch B, 1099Int/Div) > Add a Schedule B Interest/Dividend. Enter it as regular interest. When you Save and Continue, and e-file your return, your return should be accepted and you should receive your stimulus check on schedule. If the only reason you are entering it is so that your return will be accepted and you will receive your stimulus check, enter the following:
- Payer's Name: Economic Stimulus Check
- Interest Income: $1
Q. Will filing online affect when I get my stimulus payment?
A. No. Once you file your return and it is accepted by the IRS, regardless of how it was filed your stimulus payment will be issued based on the same schedule.
Q. When will I receive my stimulus payment?
A. The IRS has published a schedule to help taxpayers determine when they should expect their payments. To access the schedule, click here. When specifically you will be getting your payment depends on several factors about your return.
To help you find out when exactly you will be getting your payment, the IRS has also added a "Where's My Stimulus Payment?" feature to their website. By entering some basic information from the federal return that you have already filed, it can help you get a better estimate of when to expect your stimulus payment. To visit the IRS "Where's My Stimulus Payment?" tool, click here. If you feel that the information that you find there doesn't quite answer your questions, you would need to contact the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 or by visiting the IRS website at www.irs.gov.
If you filed after April 15, you will still receive your economic stimulus payment, but probably later than the schedule shows.
Q. Will my stimulus payment be included in my regular tax refund? Will the checks or direct deposits come at the same time?
A. No and no. There will be two payments. You will receive one payment for your regular tax refund and later you will receive a separate stimulus payment.
Q. I am in the military and had nontaxable combat pay reported on my W-2. Is there anything special that I need to do to receive my stimulus payment?
A. If you were stationed in a combat zone during the tax year, that pay is generally not taxable and does not get reported on your income tax return. However, not reporting this can affect how much earned income is used to figure your stimulus payment. To allow military taxpayers to include this income when figuring the stimulus payment, the IRS has indicated that the amount of nontaxable combat pay should be reported on line 66b of Form 1040 (line 40b of Form 1040A or 8b of Form 1040EZ) in the field for Nontaxable combat pay election.
TaxSlayer Note: The line for the Nontaxable combat pay election is specifically for the Nontaxable Combat Pay Election as it relates to the Earned Income Credit. This is NOT a specific line included on returns for the purposes of the Economic Stimulus Act. Reporting combat pay on that line for the purposes of the stimulus payment was an additional change that did not come to pass until mid to late tax season (after all of the programming was written and tested by the IRS). If you use your combat pay when figuring your Earned Income, this line will get filled in. If you do not include it, this line is to be left blank. This is per IRS instructions as they were issued when the software was being developed and tested by the IRS.
Because the change did not pass and become official until March, the software could not be rewritten to accommodate this for the purposes of the Stimulus Act.
- If you (and your spouse combined, if married) had at least $3000 in other wages on line 7 of your Form 1040 or Form 1040A (line 1 of Form 1040EZ), this election does not affect you. You should still get the full amount of your stimulus payment.
- If you (and your spouse combined, if married) did not have at least $3000 in other wages on line 7 of your Form 1040 or Form 1040A (line 1 of Form 1040EZ), this election may affect you. If you print a copy of your return, you can view the Nontaxable combat pay election line to determine if this was included on your return. This line will only be included if it is to your benefit for the EIC purposes on the return that is being filed. It will not be included if making that election will reduce your Earned Income Tax Credit.
TaxSlayer will only fill in that line when it is appropriate as it relates to the line's original purpose: the Earned Income Tax Credit. The IRS requirement that you should include an amount on the Nontaxable combat pay election line (even if you are not making the election for EIC) would have required programming changes that simply could not be accommodated considering the timeline of the changes.
Q. I have moved since filing my 2007 tax return. How will my payment reach me?
A. You should file a Form 8822 with the IRS and a change of address notice with the U.S. Postal Service. This will ensure your check is sent to your new address. Without your current address, the check could be returned to the IRS as undeliverable.
|Questions About Direct Deposit|
A. Stimulus payments will be direct deposited for taxpayers who select that option when filing their 2007 tax returns. Taxpayers who already filed and requested direct deposit won't need to do anything else to receive the stimulus payment. Taxpayers who did not request direct deposit for their 2007 refund will receive a paper check by mail. The IRS reminds taxpayers who haven't filed their 2007 returns yet that direct deposit is the fastest way to get both regular refunds and stimulus payments.
*TaxSlayer Note: If you filed through TaxSlayer, you should only expect to get your refund Direct Deposited if your A) were expecting a federal refund, AND B) selected to receive your federal refund by direct deposit. If you had an amount due to the IRS or if you selected another refund option for your federal return, you most likely will not be receiving your stimulus payment by direct deposit. See the questions that follow for specific examples.
Q. I chose to receive my refund by Bank Bonus Direct Deposit so that the e-file fee would be deducted from my refund. Will I have my stimulus payment direct deposited?
A. No. When you selected the Bank Bonus Direct Deposit, your banking information gets sent to Chase Bank, not to the IRS. This is so your income tax refund can be sent to Chase, who will remove the associated fees, and deposit the remainder into the account provided. Because it is Chase Bank who has your banking information, and not the IRS, the IRS does not have any banking information into which to deposit your stimulus payment. You will be receiving your stimulus payment through a mailed check.
Q. I had an amount due to the IRS and chose to pay my balance by Electronic Funds Withdrawal. Will my stimulus payment be direct deposited into the same account I provided for my payment?
A. No. For the IRS to direct deposit your stimulus payment, the direct deposit section of your return must have been filled out. Because you had an amount due on your return, the direct deposit information could not be filled out. That section only gets filled out in the event that a refund is due. Because that section could not be filled out, the IRS will not be direct depositing your stimulus payment. You will be receiving your stimulus payment through a mailed check.
Q. If I'm not expecting a refund, should I still fill out the direct deposit line on my return so I can get my stimulus payment direct deposited?
A. Yes. Even if you aren't due a refund on your tax return, filling out the bank routing information will allow for your stimulus payment to be direct deposited. Please Note: Direct Deposit information can only be transmitted by e-file through TaxSlayer if you are expecting a refund. If your return is not reflecting a refund, you will not be able to transmit the direct deposit information by e-file.
Q. If I use direct deposit for my tax return refund and my bank account information later changes, what will happen when my stimulus payment goes out?
A. Typically, the direct deposit will be rejected. After the IRS receives a rejection notice, the payment will be converted to a paper check and mailed to you. Unfortunately, the stimulus payment direct deposit is based on the banking information provided on the accepted federal return. Once the return is accepted, the banking information cannot be changed .