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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. samantha says:

    i am filling for chaper 7 bankruptcy, and my question in will my home items that i used as collateral for two of the loans that I am filling on be exempt?

  2. Raymond says:

    Samantha,

    Your question is much too broad for me to be able to answer on this online format. However in general, the type of property you are permitted to keep during a bankruptcy filing will depend on what assets are considered exempt from bankruptcy trustee control. This will depend on the state that you reside in and the state bankruptcy laws in effect. Some states allow you to choose between state or federal law exemptions.

  3. Rachel says:

    My husband owes back child support on his children. Will the County get the Stimulus check like they do his income tax?

  4. Raymond says:

    Rachel,

    If there is a child support lien on your husband such that his tax refunds have been intercepted, then any qualifying tax rebate payment will likely be taken away as well to satisfy his outstanding child support liability.

  5. Connie says:

    My husband owes back child support and we are paying it monthly in an agreement with the state. He is retired and on social security benefits. I work full time. I HAVE NOT filed an injured spouse form with our federal income taxes as we owe taxes this year. Do I have to file injured spouse form to get my portion of the Economic Stimulus Payment?? Any information would be appreciated. Thanks
    Connie

  6. Raymond says:

    Connie,

    Yes. You should definitely fill out Injured Spouse Allocation Form 8379 and attach it with your 2007 tax return. Depending on whether you reside in a community property state or not, the IRS will accordingly allocate to you the portion of the tax rebate you are entitled to. April 15 - don't forget!

  7. Erik Baldwin says:

    Why is there a question of whether to include only taxpayers with tax liabilities in the stimulus plan?

  8. Raymond says:

    Erik Baldwin,

    The stimulus tax plan was designed to benefit primarily lower income taxpayers who are more likely to quickly use up their rebate money and thereby help jump start the recessive economy. There is a minimum income requirement for qualification, but there is no firm requirement that taxes must be owed.

    Even for those who made too little to owe any taxes may still qualify for a rebate, albeit a smaller amount.

  9. Tami says:

    I owe an ER bill and the state always keeps our refund. Will they also take the rebate.

  10. Raymond says:

    Tami,

    I don't have enough collection information about your ER bill, but generally, tax refunds are are not captured for private and commercial debts. They are only intercepted for government debts, unpaid child support, and student loans in default. There would have to be a seizure order against a bank account where the tax refund was deposited for the hospital to claim the refund money.

    However, if your state government is indeed intercepting your future tax refunds to satisfy outstanding and unpaid tax debt, then yes, your tax rebate will likely be intercepted as well.

  11. Terry says:

    My husband and I have filed chapter 7 bankruptcy in NY state. Will we loose are stimulus rebate to our creditors? I know we could have lost our income tax return to creditors if we filed before we received our money and spent it, does the stimulus rebate fall under the same catagory?

  12. Raymond says:

    Terry,

    In regards to your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing - yes, you will likely lose your stimulus tax rebate if you filed for bankruptcy protection prior to receiving the rebate. You will likely be required to turn over all or part of the rebate check to your Chapter 7 trustee unless the amount can otherwise be successfully claimed as exempt under federal and state laws.

    If you waited until after you received your tax rebate to file for bankruptcy, the rebate check would likely have been included as income for purposes of running the means test to see if you qualified for filing Chapter 7 to begin with.

  13. Jesse Kennedy says:

    My wife and I filed our tax return joint with direct deposit into our savings. Now the savings account is closed. How can we change our account information?

  14. Raymond says:

    Jesse Kennedy,

    The IRS has issued an official response to this particular question on its tax rebate website.

    Here's the FAQ question and answer excerpt for your review:

    Q) If I use Direct Deposit for my tax return refund and my bank account information later changes, what will happen when my Stimulus Payment goes out?

    A) Typically, the Direct Deposit will be rejected. After the IRS receives a rejection notice, the payment will be converted to a paper check and mailed to you.

    Q) Is there something I can do to prevent my Stimulus Payment from being automatically deposited into the account that I identified for the Direct Deposit of my regular refund?

    A) Generally, if you designated Direct Deposit on a tax return, then the Stimulus Payment will go to the account number you designated. If the account number is no longer active, the IRS will send you a paper check. Under some circumstances you can prevent the payment from being automatically deposited.

    If your regular refund has been deposited into your account via Direct Deposit and you contact the IRS before the week of April 13, the account information can be blocked to avoid the use of Direct Deposit for your Stimulus Payment. This will result in the issuance of a paper check that will be mailed to you.

    However, if you contact the IRS on or after the week of April 13, the IRS will not have enough time to stop the Direct Deposit. In this situation, if you do not want your Stimulus Payment to go to the account listed on your tax return, you should contact your financial institution to discuss possible options. Finally, if the account number is no longer active, the IRS will send you a paper check.

  15. Paul Sybrandy says:

    I owe back child support that I am paying on monthly as well as back taxes that I am also paying on an agreement. I know they hold tax refunds and apply them to those 2 accounts, which of course is fine.

    My question is, even though I know they will be probably holding the rebate check 2008, will it just disappear or will it go to one or both of those amounts? Please help.

  16. Raymond says:

    Paul Sybrandy,

    Don't worry about your tax rebate check "disappearing". If you are qualified to receive one, a stimulus payment will work its way to you from the IRS.

    However, for unpaid back child support purposes, the stimulus payment is treated like any other tax refund. This means that part or all of your payment can be used to pay past due federal or state income taxes or non-tax federal debt such as student loans and child support. If this occurs, you will receive a letter explaining how the stimulus payment was applied.

  17. Heather says:

    I have student loans which werent paid and as a result they have been taking my taxes for the last few years, its down to less than 1000 will they take my stimulus check toward this also?

  18. Raymond says:

    Heather,

    Yes. If your tax refunds are being intercepted to pay down your defaulted student loans, your stimulus payment may be taken away as well.

    For lien purposes, the stimulus payment is treated like a any tax refund. This means that part or all of your payment may be used to pay off your student loan debt. If this occurs, you will receive a letter explaining how the stimulus payment was applied.

  19. Rachel says:

    My husband and I owe the IRS for 2004 & 2005 income taxes and make monthly payments. For 2006 & 2007 we got money back but it was applied to back taxes. Since we owe for 2004 & 2005 will we get the stimulus check or will that be applied to our back taxes. Thank you!!

  20. Raymond says:

    Rachel,

    Since your tax refunds have been continuously intercepted by the IRS to pay off back taxes from 2004 and 2005, your 2007 refunds will be intercepted as well. Because the economic stimulus payment is treated like any tax refund, all or part of the payment may be used to pay off your tax debt. If this occurs, you will receive a letter explaining how the stimulus payment was applied.

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