Will you qualify for tax rebates?

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock, February 14, 2008

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- President Bush signed the 2008 Economic Stimulus Package into effect. But what does it mean for you? News 12 breaks it down.

The Plan is giving taxpayers rebates ranging from $300 to $1200. The President and Congress are hoping people will spend the money to help the struggling economy.

Sounds simple, right? Well, turns out, there's a lot more than meets the eye. We're On Your Side about the tax rebates. News 12 spent the day finding out just what all this means.

Something people we talked with agree that they're confused! But through the confusion, there is one very important thing you need to do to get your money.

Melissa Reese is a hard-working single mom with two young kids at home. She's curious about the stimulus package.

"How much you're going to get, what it's going to depend upon," she said. "Kids?"

Two kids equals $600. If she makes an adjusted gross income under $75,000, that means a possible extra $600.

That's good, Melissa says, "because who doesn't need an extra reimbursement check?"

Sounds simple enough.. but wait! To get the $300 per child, your child must qualify, meaning meeting the Child Tax stipulations from the IRS's website and being under the age of 17. Any older and claimed as a dependent, no extra money.

There are a lot of rumors going around, like when the rebates are going to come. They are scheduled to begin hitting your homes around early May.

"Some people are saying May. Some people are saying July. Some people are saying June. Some people are saying September," says Melissa.

It's going to take a little more number crunching to fully understand. There is one major key you need to do to be eligible for a rebate: file a tax return.

"File your taxes on time if you want your money," says CPA John Murphy with Murphy and Murphy. He says people filing taxes are "cautiously excited. People want their money but their afraid there might be some catch there or some fine print where they won't get it. They want to know if it's an easy refund there. If they end up owing money would they have to pay this $600 or whatever they get back. And the answer is no."

So, bottom line, file a return. You'll be eligible for the rebate then. No return, you're out of luck!

What is Melissa going to do with this extra cash?

"Put it in the bank. Pay off some bills like the rest of America," says Melissa.

A couple other things to keep in mind. If you usually don't file a tax return but your income is more than $3,000, you need to file a return this year to be eligible for the rebate. If you make a mistake on any of your return, don't worry. The IRS will check every single return and let you know if there is something wrong with what you reported.

After you file your return, you will get two letters in the mail. The first letter will tell you if you qualify for the rebate or not. The second letter will let you know how much money you should expect to get in the mail.

Still confused? There is a news release from the Georgia IRS outlining everything you need to know about this stimulus package. Click the link below to read it.

Also, you need to know this stimulus package is for this year only. All rebates in relation to this particular package will cease on December 31, 2008. There is no telling right now if this package will be extended into 2009 and beyond.

If you are looking for any other information, head over to the IRS website.


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