Tax rebate Feed

What a difference a rebate makes

By early July, the IRS had received more than 145 million tax returns. At that same point last year, 131 million folks had filed. That filing increase of almost 12 percent is no doubt almost totally attributable to the economic stimulus payments. The only way to get a rebate this year is to file a 2007 return. And the numbers will continue to climb as the Oct. 15 extended filing deadline nears. By the numbers: Unfortunately, the IRS wasn't able to provide dollar amounts in connection with returns processed by the week ending July 5 (Excel format) due to "technical... Read more →


Rebates: one down, one to come?

The bulk of the rebate checks have been delivered. Can't you just feel the economic stimulation. (I hope that last sentence doesn't cause any content filter problems.) And just as we taxpayers, if not necessarily the economy, recover from the sometimes confusing, often frustrating rebate process, some lawmakers are planning round two. CQ Politics reports that Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.; pictured at left) is expecting the House to consider a second economic stimulus package by the time Congress adjourns in late September. Hoyer's Republican colleagues and Dubya say it's too soon to think about another attempt to jump start... Read more →


Rebates could cost IRS $862 million

As IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman was testifying before Congress last week (blogged here) about how his agency was dealing with the delivery of millions of economic stimulus payments, the Government Accountability Office chimed in with its findings on that issue. The GAO report Tax Administration: Data on the Effects of the Economic Stimulus Program on the Internal Revenue Service's Telephone Service and Costs (GAO-08-916T) looks at exactly what the title says. The report's summary notes that the hastily passed rebate measure "created [an] additional, unanticipated workload for IRS and required IRS to act quickly to deal with the public's... Read more →


IRS still looking for 5M rebate recipients

Around 5 million people are eligible for rebate checks, but have yet to file the necessary 1040 forms to collect the money. Some of these folks are like the hubby and me, procrastinators who filed for an extension. But the most of the yet-to-be-delivered checks are destined for individuals who receive Social Security and some veterans' benefits. That group, which usually doesn't have to file tax returns, is still lagging despite IRS rebate notification efforts. IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman (that's him there at right) told lawmakers at a hearing Thursday on the rebate process (blogged about here) that the... Read more →


Congress taking a look at rebate process

As I type, two House Ways and Means subcommittees -- Oversight and Social Security -- are questioning IRS and Social Security Administration officials on the status of the economic stimulus payments. In announcing the hearing, Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis (D-Georgia) and Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Michael R. McNulty (D-New York) noted that, "To administer the rebate checks, the IRS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) received an additional appropriation of $50.7 million and $31 million, respectively, to ensure that the rebate checks are fully and properly paid." To see how well that money is being spent, the hearing will... Read more →


Some folks are getting too much rebate money. Really!

Remember when I blogged about (here) my relative whose ex-husband got their joint $600 rebate (they're retirees, due $300 each) even though they both sent in 1040As as married filing separately? Apparently, that's happening to other folks, too. According to this MarketWatch story, "Even as millions of people are anxiously checking their mailboxes and bank accounts for their stimulus payments, others have received more than their fair share." So what's a person to do if they get the excess money? Don't spend it. The IRS is likely to eventually discover the mistake and want the money back. And since it... Read more →


How I spent my stimulus

Actually, I haven't spent it yet. Why not? I haven't received it because I haven't filed my 2007 return. But a lot of folks, almost 67 million according to the Treasury Department, have gotten their hot little hands on their economic stimulus payments. And they're telling the world what they've done or plan to do with the rebate cash. This CBS news video (or transcript here, if you prefer) shows some of the rebate "woo hoo" moments. You can see more expenditure announcements at How I Spent My Stimulus. When the hubby and I finally get ours, maybe we'll head... Read more →


Good news for Alabamans regarding rebates

Can you hear the rejoicing that's going on down in Alabama? That state's governor has just signed into a law a measure that will keep the state's tax collector from taking a piece of residents' federal rebate check. How state tax departments will treat the federal economic stimulus payment has been a persistent issue since the program was announced in January. In fact, I blogged about it here just a few days ago. Now, the most apparent tax-the-rebate state, Alabama, is no longer in that hated category. Alabama lawmakers approved legislation exempting the federal stimulus payment from state taxes during... Read more →


State offset programs eating rebates

Remember my post about a month ago that examined why some folks' rebate checks are showing up short or not at all? One of the main reasons is that the money was diverted as part of the U.S. Treasury offset program. Through this special collection process, state tax departments and other government agencies can collect from federal tax refunds any money they say they are owed. The money comes out before the taxpayer ever sees a penny from the IRS. Well, as noted earlier, it applies to rebate checks, too. Down in Georgia, tax collectors are being particularly aggressive this... Read more →


Rebates and states redux

Back in February, I blogged about the state tax implications of the economic stimulus payment. The question then was, "Will I owe state taxes on my federal rebate?" And the answer was, "Maybe." Since that original state rebate post, which noted that Alabama residents will likely owe tax, but New Yorkers won't, a handful of other states made their rebate tax stances known: Louisiana lawmakers exempt rebates No Connecticut tax; possible state stimulus deals Ohio says "no" rebate tax California, Iowa nix state rebate taxes No rebate tax for Oregonians Now, AccountingWeb.com has followed up on the rebate state tax... Read more →


Honoring our military,
personally and via tax breaks

The holiday we know as Memorial Day began just after the Civil War as a way to remember those who had fallen in those divisive battles. Originally called Decoration Day, the Memorial Day we now celebrate is a federal holiday held on the fourth Monday in May. And in addition to the name change, the holiday's scope was expanded. It now is a time to recognize the sacrifices of all U.S. military members. At 3 p.m. local time today, there will be a National Moment of Remembrance, a time for you to voluntarily and informally observe the holiday. If you... Read more →


'Dead' taxpayer waiting for rebate check

Betty Hayes, like many senior citizens, was thrilled that this time, unlike in 2001, retirees are eligible for some rebate money. But she started to worry when her $300 never arrived. The IRS thought it had a pretty good reason for not delivering Mrs. Hayes' economic stimulus payment. "You're dead," the agency told her. Big surprise to Betty and her friends and family. News that you're dead, she said, "makes you about about halfway sick." You can watch her story in the MSNBC video below. One theory is that the IRS somehow keyed in her late husband's Social Security number.... Read more →


Tax money tracking options

In case you want to take some time off from your shopping at Memorial Day holiday sales, tax-free or otherwise, and find out exactly when you'll get the rebate money to help pay for those purchases, here are your money-tracking options. Since you're reading this, you are obviously very online savvy. So let's start there. When it comes to finding the status of money you're due from the IRS, the agency offers two online tracking tools: Where's My Rebate? Where's My Refund? If, however, you prefer to call and actually bug a human -- and we all need some personal... Read more →


More rebate problems

Obstacles continue to crop up for taxpayers anxiously awaiting their economic stimulus payments. We've already looked at some of the issues that are causing slow or no delivery of rebates, such as amounts misdirected to wrong bank accounts, multiple accounts selected for regular refund direct deposits, offsets to cover other debts and refund anticipation loans and/or filing fees rolled into refund products that resulted in paper rebate checks being issued instead of being sent straight to taxpayer accounts. Unfortunately, the troubles keep piling up. Here are some more instances, reported by the Associated Press, San Jose Mercury News, and USAToday,... Read more →


Some rebates sent to wrong accounts

This is definitely not what any of us wanted to hear, but Newsday reports that some economic stimulus checks are showing up in the wrong bank accounts. Although the direct deposit of most of the rebates seem to be going into the appropriate accounts, the Long Island, N.Y., tabloid says some are winding up in the bank accounts of complete strangers. "We do know of instances of problems; we've heard of situations where stimulus checks have gone to the wrong people's bank accounts," Kevin McKeon, IRS spokesman for the New York region told Newsday. "We're getting a lot of calls... Read more →


Really, just where the heck is my rebate!?!

A lot of taxpayers are starting to feel like these turkey vultures. Yep, patience is starting to wear thin as folks wait for their rebate money. Emotions range from frustrated but slightly apologetic Jesi: I really don't want to bit** about this money because this time last year, I didn't know or expect to be getting it and am grateful that I am now. But it's like dangling candy in front of a two-year-old. I was supposed to get mine today and nothing. I know that I do not owe anything and made all the qualifying items … To the... Read more →


Where's the rest of my rebate?

I was talking last week to a tax preparer who was steeling herself for an onslaught of calls from clients wanting to know how come their rebate amounts are less, and potentially much less, than they were expecting. "I tried to tell them about offsets, but they didn't want to hear it," she said. Ah, yes. The back-door tax collection method. If you owe the IRS federal taxes from previous tax years or have ignored a variety of nonfederal debts you owe, Uncle Sam can take those uncollected amounts out of any federal money you might be due. Treasury Offset... Read more →


Where's my stimulus rebate?

The IRS apparently got tired of folks calling its main 800 number to find out about the status of their economic stimulus package rebate check. To handle such inquiries, the agency has created an online tracking tool, Where's My Stimulus Payment? The Web tool operates along the lines of the agency's popular Where's My Refund? feature. To find our just where in the system your rebate check is mired, click here. Once that page opens, you'll need to enter your Social Security number (if you filed a joint return, use the SSN of the spouse listed first on your 1040),... Read more →


Readers question rebate delivery methods

I've gotten loads of questions from readers about how they can get their rebate money ASAP. Essentially, they want it directly deposited, either into a bank account or loaded onto the prepaid card they got from a tax preparation chain. Unfortunately, for most of these folks, the news is not what they want to hear. Direct deposit do-overs: First, let's look at the direct deposit to a bank account issue. I totally understand the frustration of folks like Cinthia, who told me: "I had problems getting my check direct deposit on my tax return because Turbo Tax put in the... Read more →