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Searching For Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Your Tax Rebate Check

Published 3/6/08 (Modified 3/14/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Updated - The IRS has released the official 2008 Economic Stimulus Payment Schedule.

Also, read about the prospects and chances of an Obama stimulus check for 2009.

Based on the substantial traffic and comments I've been receiving for the article I wrote explaining and breaking down the details of the 2008 Stimulus Rebate Package, it's clear that everyone in the United States is concerned about their rebate checks. Everybody wants to know how large their own tax rebate check will be and when they can expect to receive it.

There are many questions to be answered and I've been trying my best to respond to them all. While most questions have been straightforward, others have been slightly more complicated with issues relating to Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy filings, or issues relating to wage garnishment and student loan liens. But I will continue to do my best to answer your flurry of tax rebate comments and e-mails.

Visit The IRS Website For The Official Source Of Tax Rebate News and Updates

While I can't necessarily state that all answers that I provide are definitive, I do try my best to answer accurately based on research and reasonable information. One thing I have noticed is the vast amount of misinformation and speculation that is available on the internet. There seems to be much conjecture and rumors surrounding the tax rebate, particularly as it relates to timetable and the order that the checks will be sent out. I wish to remind readers that the only definitive source for tax rebate news and updates is the official IRS Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center (official website). There, they've done a pretty decent job of addressing the seemingly endless stream of tax rebate inquiries, even providing answers to popular tax rebate questions (Tax Rebate FAQ). The IRS tax rebate website provides stimulus check payment hypotheticals and answers questions pertaining to Social Security recipients and veterans living on disability. They post updates regularly and understandably so. Here's a quick link to some of the official tax rebate questions and answers for various filing scenarios:

  1. Single without children
  2. Head of Household, with children
  3. Married, with children
  4. Married, without children
  5. Married Filing Separately, with or without children

Here's the official information release for recipients of alternative types of income:

  1. Recipients of Social Security Retirement Income or Disability
  2. Recipients of VA Benefits, Disability, or Survivor Benefits

If you still have unanswered questions, please continue to post comment questions to my original Bush Tax Rebate article. I will try my best to diligently answer each one as best as I can. Keep in mind that while I do have a legal and financial background, you will be best served asking your own tax professional or hired attorney the more substantive tax and legal questions, particularly when it relates to more delicate legal issues surrounding bankruptcy and liens. My informal opinions should only be viewed and regarded as general background information rather than seen as authoritative financial advice.

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141 Responses to “Searching For Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Your Tax Rebate Check” 

  1. Allison says:

    Raymond,

    I'm a graduate student, paid by my university about $24,000 in 2007 in fellowships (not reported on a W-2, but required to be included in my wages on line 7 of the 1040). I also had $1800 reported on a W-2 (for other work I did for my school) and $700 in self-employment income.

    The IRS' stimulus calculator says I should get a $600 check, but I'm concerned that because most of my AGI comes from fellowships (which aren't listed as making up part of income which qualifies one for a rebate), I in fact won't get a check after all.

    I've tried to find info on this question on the IRS website and online, but no dice.

    Input would be much appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Allison

  2. Raymond says:

    Allison

    I have bad news - I don't think you will qualify for a tax rebate payment for this year. Because your $24,000 worth of fellowship did not require the school to issue you a W-2 and no payroll taxes were withheld, it will not be considered "earned income" for IRS as well as tax rebate purposes. You have other earned income sources I see but they don't seem to add up to the $3,000 minimum threshold. A fellowship is taxable income, but in most cases it's not considered compensation or earned income.

    The good news is that although you may not qualify this year, you can try again on April 15, 2009 for your 2008 tax return. You can claim the tax rebate either this year or next.

    I know...your other earned income sources are so close to the cut off...

  3. dawn says:

    we live in southwest missouri and do to all the floods we have had in our area the government gave us and several other surrounding counties extensions on filing taxes (county wide). does this also give us an extension on the rebate check deadline? or did we just find ourselves in a catch 22? thanks in advance for any info you can offer. Dawn

  4. Raymond says:

    Dawn,

    Yes, you will get the equivalent of an extension to file for the rebate check. The IRS wants to encourage and urge everyone to file by the normal April 15 tax deadline since the sooner you file the sooner you can receive your stimulus payment. But if you have obtained a valid six month extension to file or if you are filing to establish your eligibility for the stimulus payment, filing by Oct. 15 means the IRS can process your return and issue a stimulus payment before the end of the year.

    However, the sooner you file your extension, the quick the IRS will process.

  5. Allison says:

    Thanks very much, Raymond (you can delete this comment if it seems to break up the thread). I (and I'm sure all the other authors of queries) really appreciate the time and effort you're taking to answer our questions!

    Allison

  6. Tilly says:

    Raymond,

    I am in the same situation as Allison; my fellowship is reported on a 1099 Misc and I only have additional $2100 on a W-2. But I thought that if the AGI is > $8750, I will get the rebate for sure!? At least both IRS calculator and TurboTax tell me that I will get it.

    Another quick question; to get to the $8750, I reported $150 as personal property rental income, which I got from my friend for using my mtbike last summer. Is this legal, and do I need any paperwork to prove it?

    Thanks so much for advice.

    Tilly

  7. Raymond says:

    Tilly,

    To even qualify for the tax rebate, you will need to have at least $3,000 worth of qualifying income. For tax rebate purposes, 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.

    1099 Misc Form Income may or may not be earned income depending on how you received it. Was it a grant or payment for services rendered? It'll depend on the character. Fellowship income is usually given in grant form rather than provided for services rendered, and usually not considered earned income, but of course, it depends...

    Turbo Tax can only offer an answer as accurately as the information provided.

    As for including the mountain bike rental income to reach the taxable income threshold, that sounds all right so long as you have some way to back it up should the IRS inquire about it. But the amount is so small, I highly doubt the IRS will even bat an eye.

  8. josh grantham says:

    I made over 4112 on my adjusted income for the year, i did the stimlus tax calculator and it said i should be getting back 300 dollars, but i did not receive a letter from irs what should i do?

  9. Raymond says:

    Josh,

    Don't worry about not receiving the tax rebate notification letter. It was simply a template letter with non essential information regarding the tax rebate and won't affect whether you actually qualify for it or not. Just make sure you file your 2007 tax return with the appropriate income sources and you will be all right.

  10. Anne says:

    In the first post (from "Pravin Patel") you say that interest, dividends, etc. is AGI and therefore contributes to their economic stimulus package, despite this not being earned income. However, you have also said that fellowships are not earned income, and therefore do not contribute to receiving the rebate. So which is it - does unearned income count or not?

  11. Raymond says:

    Anne,

    Interest, dividends, and most fellowship income, etc are not considered earned income for tax rebate income qualification purposes. Qualification income is the initial $3,000 hurdle that must be met before any taxpayer may be entitled to a tax rebate payment to begin with. Once the initial threshold has been met, that's when you look at the overall Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to determine how much the rebate amount will actually be. Only at this time may you take into consideration interest, dividends, and fellowship income to calculate the AGI.

  12. yvonne says:

    hey my boyfriend and i both filed our tax returns already, but only i got the letter from the irs about the rebate and he filed his first, does this mean hes not getting anything?

  13. Raymond says:

    Yvonne,

    Don't worry about the IRS tax rebate notification letter. You can read read about the notification letter here and as you'll notice, it's a standard template letter with no new information. So long as you and your boyfriend properly file your tax returns and qualify, both of you will receive your tax rebate payment.

  14. jeff says:

    greetings,
    me and my wife filed our tax return and found out that we owe money and would be unable to pay the whole amount (paid about half). would we be still able to get the stimulus package rebate?

  15. Raymond says:

    Jeff,

    You will receive your tax rebate as scheduled. However, the IRS will send you a letter indicating that your 2007 tax liability remains unpaid. They will likely impose interest and/or penalties as well.

  16. yvonne says:

    thanks raymond i was getting kind of worried there, lol. he thought he wasnt getting one and i tried to find a way to look it up, but i guess asking is always easier,thanks again

  17. tasha says:

    I filed my taxes and already received my refund. I did them through turbo tax and not until the end did i see i had to pay for it(had always done it for free). The company took their portion out of my refund and then deposited in my bank. On my tax return it shows my bank information though i.e. routing and account numbers. Does this mean I will get it back by direct deposit or since they did what they call a "refund transfer" will I get a paper check?

    Thank you

  18. Raymond says:

    Tasha,

    Based on what you've told me, you should receive your tax rebate in the form of a direct deposit to the bank account you provided.

  19. Renee says:

    If i wanna receive my stimulus check via my checking account (direct deposit) instead of a paper check, how do i do that?.. When i filed my income taxes this year.. i got a paper check.. not direct deposit.. how can i change this?.. or can I?

  20. Raymond says:

    Renee,

    Since it's already past April 15, the tax rebate payment wheels have already been set in motion. You are likely to receive your tax rebate in the form of a paper check. You can try calling the IRS directly to change your payment option, but you will likely not receive your direct deposit the same time as those who timely filed by the tax filing deadline.

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