The Internal Revenue Service is sending out letters this week to more than 130 million American households reminding them to file a 2007 tax return in order to receive a tax rebate or economic stimulus payment.
The mailings will continue throughout the month of March. The Economic Stimulus Payment Notice alerts people that they may be eligible for a one-time stimulus payment of up to $600 ($1,200 for joint filers) starting in May, along with an additional $300-per-child payment for qualifying children younger than 17.
"These letters are the first step in an extensive outreach effort Treasury and the IRS will be leading over the weeks ahead to inform qualified Americans how to get their stimulus payment," said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (pictured) in a statement. "For the majority of Americans, all they will need to do is file a tax return."
He noted that the IRS is working with the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the Social Security Administration, members of Congress, the AARP and other groups to reach those who do not normally file a return and ensure they know how to get their stimulus payment this year.
The notice states: "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. 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."
In late March, the IRS will send a special mailing to some recipients of Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits. Those benefits are typically nontaxable and recipients do not have to file tax returns.
However, this year, 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 them is $300, or $600 for joint filers.
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