IRS Seeks to Return $266 Million in Undeliverable Refunds And Economic Stimulus Payments to Taxpayers

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is looking for taxpayers who are missing more than 279,000 economic stimulus checks totaling about $163 million and more than 104,000 regular refund checks totaling about $103 million that were returned by the U.S. Postal Service due to mailing address errors.

“People across the country are missing tax refunds and stimulus checks. We want to get this money into the hands of taxpayers where it belongs,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We are committed to making the process as easy as possible for taxpayers to update their addresses with the IRS and get their checks.”

IRS Seeks to Return $266 Million in Undeliverable Refunds And Economic Stimulus Payments to Taxpayers

All a taxpayer has to do is update his or her address once. The IRS will then send out all checks due.

Stimulus Checks

It is crucial that taxpayers who may be due a stimulus check update their addresses with the IRS by Nov. 28, 2008. By law, economic stimulus checks must be sent out by Dec. 31 of this year. The undeliverable economic stimulus checks average $583.

The “Where’s My Stimulus Payment?” tool on this Web site is the quickest and easiest way for a taxpayer to check the status of a stimulus check and receive instructions on how to update his or her address. Taxpayers without internet access should call 1-866-234-2942.

Regular Refunds

The regular refund checks that were returned to the IRS average $988. These checks are resent as soon as taxpayers update their address.

Taxpayers can update their addresses with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on this Web site. It enables taxpayers to check the status of their refunds. A taxpayer must submit his or her social security number, filing status and amount of refund shown on their 2007 return. The tool will provide the status of their refund and in some cases provide instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.

Taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will be given instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954.

Unsure?

Taxpayers not sure of which type of check they may be due should check on a potential economic stimulus check first because of the looming deadline. See instructions above.

For Most People

The vast majority of checks mailed out by the IRS reach their rightful owner every year. Only a very small percent are returned by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable.

Through September 2008, the government distributed 116 million economic stimulus payments with only about 279,000 checks being undeliverable. Meanwhile, the IRS has distributed more than 105 million regular refunds this year with only about 104,000 being undeliverable. In both cases, well under one percent of refunds or stimulus checks were undeliverable.

Avoiding Future Problems

The IRS encourages taxpayers to choose direct deposit when they file their return because it puts an end to lost, stolen or undeliverable checks. Taxpayers can receive refunds directly into personal checking or savings accounts. Direct deposit is available for filers of both paper and electronic returns.

The IRS also encourages taxpayers to file their tax returns electronically because e-file eliminates the risk of lost paper returns. E-file also reduces errors and speeds up refunds.

IRS Reminder For Qualifying Retirees and Veterans

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded qualifying retirees and veterans that it is not too late to file for an economic stimulus payment and announced it will send a second set of information packets to 5.2 million people who may be eligible but who have not yet filed for their stimulus payment.

The packages will contain everything needed by a person who normally does not have a filing requirement but who must file this year in order to receive an economic stimulus payment. There will be instructions, an example Form 1040A return showing the few lines that need to be completed, and a blank Form 1040A. The packages will be mailed over a three-week period starting July 21.

“All it takes is a few simple steps, and the payment can be on its way. It’s not too late to file, but the sooner people file, the faster they’ll receive their money,” said Doug Shulman, IRS Commissioner.

The mailing is part of an IRS summer campaign to reach out to those people who have no requirement to file a tax return but who may be eligible for a stimulus payment of up to $300 ($600 for married filing jointly). For those eligible for a payment for themselves, there also is a $300 per child payment for eligible children younger than 17.

 

IRS Reminder For Qualifying Retirees and Veterans

The IRS has accounted for about 75 percent of the approximately 20 million Social Security and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries identified as being potential stimulus recipients. All but 5.2 million of those have either filed a return, filed a joint return or were not eligible for a stimulus payment (for example, they were claimed as a dependent on another’s return).

To reach the remaining recipients, the IRS is working with national partners, members of Congress and state and local officials to ensure that assistance to eligible people is available.

The agency also reminded people that it 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 of addresses and office hours can be found at Contact My Local Office.

The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 provided for payments of up to $600 ($1,200 for married filing jointly) for taxpayers who normally file a tax return and have a tax liability. It provided that stimulus recipients could receive another $300 for each eligible child younger than 17.

The Act also created a special category for people who had certain types of income but may not file a tax return because their income is too low or their income is nontaxable.

People in this category must have at least $3,000 in qualifying income to be eligible for the minimum amount of $300 ($600 married filing jointly). Qualifying income is the total of Social Security,

Veterans Affairs and/or Railroad Retirement benefits plus earned income, including nontaxable combat pay.

People receiving only Supplemental Security Income are not eligible. Eligible people must have a Social Security number (unless their spouse is a member of the military) and be neither a dependent nor eligible to be a dependent on another’s tax return.

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 and others will have to start filing tax returns again.

As of July 11, the IRS had issued 112.4 million payments totaling $91.8 billion. Payments are based on 2007 tax returns being filed this year. People must file by Oct. 15 in order to receive a payment in 2008. Those who do not file a tax return to obtain their stimulus payment this year may still receive their stimulus payments by filing a 2008 tax return next spring, but then their stimulus payment would be based on their 2008 qualifying income.

Economic Stimulus Payment Notice

Special Economic Stimulus Letters To Reach Mailboxes in March

WASHINGTON — More than 130 million American households will begin receiving Internal Revenue Service letters next week reminding them to file a 2007 tax return in order to receive a 2008 economic stimulus payment.

The mailings by the IRS will begin the first week in March and continue throughout the month. The informational notice, titled Economic Stimulus Payment Notice, alerts people that they may be eligible for a one-time stimulus payment of up to $600 ($1,200 married filing jointly) starting in May. There also is a $300 per child payment for qualifying children younger than 17.

This special letters remind people that they won’t need to do anything more than file a 2007 tax return in order to put the stimulus payment process in motion,” Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff said.

 

Economic Stimulus Payment Notice

The notice is informational and does not seek any financial information. The main mailings, which will take place in three weekly batches, will go to taxpayers who filed a tax return last year.

To receive a payment in 2008, individuals who qualify will not have to do anything more than file a 2007 tax return. The IRS will determine eligibility, figure the amount and send the payment,” the notice states. “This payment should not be confused with any 2007 income tax refund that is owed to you by the federal government. Income tax refunds for 2007 will be made separately from this one-time payment.

This payment should not be confused with any 2007 income tax refund that is owed to you by the federal government. Income tax refunds for 2007 will be made separately from this one-time payment.

However, some people must take an extra step this year to receive a stimulus payment. In late March, the IRS will send a special mailing to certain recipients of Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits. Generally, those benefits are nontaxable and recipients do not file tax returns. In order to receive a stimulus payment, people in this group need to file a tax return if they have at least $3,000 from a combination of certain Social Security benefits, Veterans benefits and earned income. The minimum stimulus payment for these people is $300 ($600 for married filing jointly).

The IRS has created a sample of Form 1040A with information on how to fill out a few lines that will enable eligible people who do not normally file a tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

More details on the special mailings for recipients of Social Security and veterans benefits will be available soon.

IRS – Newswire

2008 Tax Rebate – New Information Released

tax-form.pngWASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service released additional information today about the upcoming economic stimulus payments (2008 Tax Rebate) in a specially designed section for taxpayers on IRS.gov.

The new information includes an extensive set of Frequently Asked Questions about the stimulus payments, with a special emphasis on recipients of Social Security and certain veterans’ benefits. Millions of people in this group who normally don’t file a tax return will need to do so this year in order to receive a stimulus payment.

For recipients of Social Security and certain veterans’ benefits and low-income workers who don’t normally need to file, the IRS also released a special version of a Form 1040A that highlights the simple, specific sections of the return that can be filled out by people in these categories to qualify for a stimulus payment.

“Most taxpayers just need to file a 2007 tax return in order to automatically receive the stimulus payment,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Linda Stiff. “But we are especially concerned about recipients of Social Security and veterans’ benefits who may need to take special steps this year to file a tax return in order to obtain a stimulus payment. IRS.gov will help taxpayers get what they need.”

 

2008 Tax Rebate – New Information Released

The Frequently Asked Questions section – accessible through the front page of IRS.gov — includes an extensive set of information for all taxpayers with questions about the stimulus payments, commonly referred to as rebates. The questions and answers include important information for low-income workers and certain recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement benefits and veterans’ benefits.

The special IRS.gov section also features extensive examples of how much taxpayers can expect to receive in stimulus payments. The page includes more than two-dozen payment scenarios affecting different types of taxpayers.

IRS.gov will be updated frequently to provide taxpayers with all they need to understand the stimulus payments.

The IRS will begin sending taxpayers their economic stimulus payments in early May after the current tax season concludes. In most cases, the payment will equal the amount of tax liability on the tax return, with a maximum amount of $600 for individuals ($1,200 for married couples who file a joint return). Payments to more than 130 million households will continue over several weeks during the spring and summer. A payment schedule for taxpayers will be announced in the near future on IRS.gov.

The IRS reminds taxpayers when they file their 2007 tax return to use direct deposit, which is the fastest way to get both regular refunds and stimulus payments. However, taxpayers who use Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) or enter into any other loan or financial agreement with their tax professional cannot receive their stimulus payments by direct deposit and instead will get a paper check.

The only way to receive a stimulus payment in 2008 is to file a 2007 tax return. The vast majority of taxpayers must take no extra steps to receive their stimulus payment beyond the routine filing of their tax return. No other action, extra form or call is necessary.

Special Guidelines for Recipients of Certain Social Security, Veterans and Railroad Benefits

Certain people who normally are not required to file but who are eligible for the stimulus payment will have to file a 2007 tax return. This includes low-income workers or those who receive Social Security benefits or veterans’ disability compensation, pension or survivors’ benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007. These taxpayers will be eligible to receive a payment of $300 ($600 on a joint return) if they had at least $3,000 of qualifying income.

Qualifying income includes Social Security benefits, certain Railroad Retirement benefits, certain veterans’ benefits and earned income, such as income from wages, salaries, tips and self-employment. For taxpayers filing joint tax returns, only a total of $3,000 of qualifying income from both spouses is required to be eligible for a payment.

The special version of the Form 1040A unveiled today on IRS.gov shows taxpayers in these groups the specific sections of the form they need to fill out to qualify for the stimulus payment. The mock-up is designed to be used as a guide for filling out an actual Form 1040A.

“People who don’t normally need to file have a roadmap on how to fill out the Form 1040A quickly and easily,” Stiff said. “We encourage recipients of Social Security and veterans’ benefits who don’t normally need to file a tax return to use this mock-up of the form as a guide to help them get their stimulus payment.”

The Form 1040A illustration on IRS.gov shows the limited number of lines that will need to be filled out for recipients of Social Security, certain Railroad Retirement and certain veterans’ benefits. A key line is reporting their 2007 benefits on Line 14a of Form 1040A. The IRS reminds taxpayers they can also use Line 20a on Form 1040 to report these same benefits.

In addition, taxpayers in these groups should write the words “Stimulus Payment” at the top of the 1040A or 1040.

For now, taxpayers in this group filing a tax return can only file a paper copy of the Form 1040 or Form 1040A. The IRS is working to update its systems to accept electronic versions of these limited-information returns for taxpayers who otherwise have no need to file a tax return. The IRS is also working with the software community to handle these returns electronically at a future date.

The IRS also reminded taxpayers with Social Security, Railroad Retirement or veterans’ benefits who have already filed but did not report their qualifying benefits on either Line 14a of Form 1040A or Line 20a of Form 1040 that they may need to file an amended return in some situations to receive a larger stimulus payment.

Taxpayers who already have filed but did not report these benefits can file an amended return by using Form 1040X, which can only be filed with a paper form.

The IRS reminded taxpayers who don’t have any other requirement to file a tax return that submitting a tax return to qualify for the economic stimulus payments does not create any additional tax or trigger a tax bill. In addition, the stimulus payments will not have any effect on eligibility for federal benefits.

The IRS is working with the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs and other organizations to ensure that recipients are aware of the need to file a tax return to receive their stimulus payment in 2008.