530 people in Douglas County still eligible for rebateThe Internal Revenue Service is alerting millions of retirees and disabled veterans across the country that it’s not too late to file a 2007 tax return to get a stimulus payment.
The Internal Revenue Service is alerting millions of retirees and disabled veterans across the country that it’s not too late to file a 2007 tax return to get a stimulus payment.
Many have false assumptions about the stimulus payments and have held back on filing that return, but they shouldn't, according to the IRS.
Douglas County has more than 530 retirees and disabled veterans who may qualify but haven't filed a 2007 tax return to get their rebate.
More than 360 of those are in Alexandria, according to the IRS.
The IRS has launched a new summer campaign to reach those who qualify for the economic stimulus payment but have not filed to claim it.
Statistics indicate about 74 percent of the 20 million people in this group – retirees and disabled veterans – are accounted for in the stimulus payments currently being sent, leaving about 5.2 million potential recipients remaining. ??In Minnesota, about 64,000 potential recipients remain, with 13,600 of those in Hennepin County alone.
Cities topping Minnesota's list for the most people remaining are: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud, Osseo, Mankato, Hopkins, Anoka and Brainerd.
The top 10 counties with the most potential filers are Hennepin, Ramsey, St. Louis, Dakota, Anoka, Stearns, Washington, Crow Wing, Olmsted and Otter Tail.
"The IRS is concerned that some people who could really use this stimulus money are not taking the necessary steps to get it. Remaining retirees and disabled veterans should file a 2007 tax return. It's not too late," said Carrie Resch, IRS spokesperson.
The deadline to file a return for a stimulus payment is October 15, 2008.
Resch emphasized to retirees that receiving the stimulus payment should have no impact on other federal benefits currently being received.
The stimulus payment is not taxable. Absent any other filing requirements, filing a tax return to receive a stimulus payment does not mean that retirees will have to start filing tax returns again.
To receive a stimulus payment, most people only need to file a tax return as they normally do. The IRS will calculate eligibility and the payment amount.
However, many retirees and veterans do not normally file a tax return because their benefits are not taxable. This year, they must file in order to receive an economic stimulus payment.
Generally, stimulus payments are $300 for people who don't normally file a return ($600 for joint filers).
Spread the word
The IRS could use everyone's help, Resch said.
“Some retirees and others who normally do not file a tax return may be eligible and not know it," Resch said. "Spread the word. If you know of a retiree, a disabled veteran or someone with low income who isn't normally required to file, encourage them to look into whether they meet the qualifications to get a stimulus payment."
Eligible individuals (including their qualifying children) must:
• Have valid Social Security numbers.
• Cannot be claimed or be eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
• Have at least $3,000 in any combination of qualifying income or benefits.
Qualifying income from Social Security includes retirement, disability and survivor payments. (Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is not qualifying income.)
Veterans Affairs benefits that are considered qualifying income include disability compensation, disability pension and survivor payments.
Qualifying railroad retirement payments include the Social Security equivalent portion of Tier 1 benefits. Earned income (wages, salaries, tips or self-employment income) or non-taxable combat pay also qualify.
How to file, get help
People not otherwise required to file an income tax return should file Form 1040A with basic information to ensure they receive the economic stimulus payment. This information includes name; address; dependents, if any; amount of qualifying income (which must be $3,000 or more); direct deposit information and signatures.
Although the IRS can mail the payment, the agency urges people to use direct deposit to ensure a speedy delivery.
Form 1040A and instructions are available at www.IRS.gov or can be ordered from 1-800-TAX-FORM.
Filers can also use a Free File option through IRS.gov to electronically file for their stimulus payment. Those who don't normally file a tax return should be sure to use the Free File section for stimulus-payment-only filers.
The IRS has more than 400 local Taxpayer Assistance Centers operating normal business hours Monday through Friday. These centers can provide assistance to retirees and veterans trying to receive their payments.
A list for addresses and office hours can be found at “Contact My Local Office” at www.IRS.gov. People can also call United Way at 211 to check for free tax preparation sites in their area, which are staffed by trained community volunteers.
About the payments
The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 generally provided for payments of $600 for individuals and $1,200 for married couples filing joint returns (or the amount equal to the 2007 net income tax liability, whichever is less).
For people who have no tax liability or no tax filing requirement, stimulus payments are $300 ($600 for married couples). Qualifying children (age 16 or younger in 2007) add an additional $300 per child to the payment. Payments begin to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes greater than $75,000 ($150,000 married couples filing jointly).
The IRS has issued 94.8 million payments worth $78.3 billion based on 2007 tax returns processed so far. The agency expects to issue 124 million payments to Americans by year’s end.