North Dakota tax tidbit: sales tax refunds for Canadians
Tax Twitter Tuesday 03.23.2010

Did you get a recovery payment?

Last week I got a call from my mom. Usually she just wants to chat about how her life is going, what's up with me and dish some dirt on relatives. Just kidding dear extended family members! Just wanted to see if y'all were still reading the ol' blog! 

Senior citizens sign_Ethan Prater This time, though, she had a tax question. She wasn't sure about this Schedule M and what is this recovery payment it wanted to know about? She swore she never got a check last year.

As it turned out, my mom, along with millions of other Social Security recipients, did get the economic recovery payment.

It was directly deposited into her bank account by the Social Security Administration. She remembered that (and considering buying new shoes when the money showed up) after a call to the SSA confirmed that she got her portion of last year's stimulus package.

Although my mother is definitely one of a kind, when it comes to this particular tax issue, she has lots of company.

So the IRS has instituted a new 800-number phone service for seniors confused as to whether they received the economic recovery payment last year.

Dial 1-866-234-2942 and select Option 1. The automated system will then take you through steps to determine whether you got the money.

That didn't work in my mother's case. (See, she is special, tax and otherwise!) So we turned to the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.

If your payment was via the Department of Veterans' Affairs, call 1-800-827-1000. And Railroad Retirement rebate recipients can check that agency's Web page,, for confirmation details.

Speaking of online, today a special IRS page debuted: Did I Receive a 2009 Economic Recovery Payment? 

Computer-comfortable seniors (or their family and friends) can use the site to make sure benefits recipients did indeed get the $250 economic recovery payment last year.

Whether you call or go online, you'll need the senior's Social Security number (or IRS individual taxpayer identification number), date of birth and the Zip code shown on the latest tax return filed. A separate telephone call or Web inquiry must be made for each taxpayer, even if mom and dad filed a joint tax return.

Here's hoping that everyone who's unsure about the recovery payment gets the same good news my mom did, although she really was sort of hoping she hadn't gotten it so she could get the cash now!

Photo courtesy Ethan Prater

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