My View / Jim Webb – Not too late for your economic stimulus payment

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During this difficult economic time, I have continually advocated for timely and practical solutions to ease the hardships Virginians are experiencing.

Earlier this year, I supported the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 to spur consumer spending, assist American businesses and provide relief to those who are hurting most. The bill became law February 13, 2008. You may still receive an economic stimulus rebate if you havent done so already.

The new law provides rebate checks to millions of American families, including 20 million low-income senior citizens living on Social Security and 250,000 disabled veterans. The plan also creates incentives for business investment across the Commonwealth to further stimulate the economy.

Through June 13, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) processed over 76 million stimulus payments, totaling $63.9 billion. However, there are still 123,996 Virginians 1,000 in Alexandria alone who may be eligible for the payments but have not yet filed a tax return. The last day to file your tax return is October 15, 2008. I encourage those Virginians who have not yet done so to take advantage of this rebate.

My office has received a number of questions regarding the Economic Stimulus Act, and I hope the following information will prove useful.

Who is eligible for the economic stimulus rebate?
Single individuals with a maximum income of $75,000 and families with a maximum income of $150,000 are eligible for the economic stimulus rebate. 

Individuals and families who would normally not file a tax return this year are also eligible for an economic stimulus rebate if they have income of at least $3,000 or more from (in any combination):

Earned income from wages, salaries, tips, or net earnings from self-employment

  • Monthly Social Security benefits
  • Railroad Retirement Tier I benefits
  • Disability compensation paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.)
  • Disability pension or survivors pension paid by the V.A.
  • Dependency and indemnity compensation paid by the V.A.
  • Combat pay

To receive the economic stimulus rebate, an individual must have a valid Social Security number (SSN).  If filing a joint tax return, both spouses must have valid SSNs to be eligible for the larger rebate for married couples (with the exception of active duty military members whose spouses do not have a SSN).  To be eligible for the additional rebate for a child, the child must have a valid SSN.

How much Is the rebate?
Individuals matching the criteria above are eligible for a $300 economic stimulus rebate and married couples matching the criteria above are eligible for $600.  In addition, there is an extra rebate of $300 for each child under 17 years of age. 

The economic stimulus rebate does not count as income for Supplemental Security Income purposes.

How to get a rebate:
To be eligible for a rebate, one must file a tax return in order for the IRS to verify his or her name and address and to determine eligibility for the rebate. 

Beginning in March, the IRS began sending an informational and tax filing package to recipients of Social Security and veterans benefits to help them file a tax return for the rebate.  The IRS encourages eligible individuals to file their income tax returns as soon as possible to ensure that they receive their rebates in a timely manner. 

For more in-depth information, please visit the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov.  And, as always, do not hesitate to contact my office directly or visit my Web site at www.webb.senate.gov for additional assistance.

 

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