IR-2008-80, June 19, 2008
— The Internal Revenue Service today announced a new summer campaign to reach
those retirees and disabled veterans who qualify for the economic stimulus
payment but have not filed to claim it. New statistics released today indicate
about 74 percent in this group are accounted for in the stimulus payments
currently being sent, leaving about 5.2 million potential recipients remaining.
For all taxpayers, the IRS has issued 76.5 million
payments worth $63.8 billion based on 2007 tax returns processed so far. The
agency expects to issue 124 million payments to Americans by year’s end.
Eligible individuals are receiving up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples
filing joint returns) plus $300 for eligible children younger than 17.
“The IRS has delivered. Only 70 days after the legislation became
law, the IRS started putting the money in the hands of tens of millions of
Americans. This summer, we will go the extra mile to help the remaining
retirees and disabled veterans get their payments,” said Doug Shulman, IRS
A special stimulus category includes recipients of
certain benefits from Social Security and Veterans Affairs who do not normally
have a requirement to file a tax return.
However, these individuals must file a tax return before Oct. 15 this
year to receive their economic stimulus payments. The IRS has accounted for 74
percent of Social Security and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries out of about 20
million initially identified as being potential stimulus recipients. All but
5.2 million of those have been accounted for as either having filed a return,
having filed a joint return, or as not being eligible for a stimulus payment
(for example, they were claimed as a dependent on another’s return).
Most people only need to file a tax return as they
normally do. The IRS will calculate eligibility and the payment amount.
However, many retirees and veterans do not normally file a tax return because
their benefits are not taxable. This year, they must file in order to receive
an economic stimulus payment.
Shulman also stressed to retirees that receiving
the stimulus payment should have no impact on other federal benefits currently
being received. The stimulus payment is not taxable. Absent any other filing
requirements, filing a tax return to receive a stimulus payment does not mean
that retirees will have to start filing tax returns again.
has identified 5.2 million retirees and veterans’ beneficiaries who potentially
are eligible for the stimulus payments. Later this summer, the agency will send
them a special letter that explains stimulus payment eligibility and how to
claim it. The letter will include a sample tax form and an actual tax form that
people can complete and mail to the IRS. This will be the second special
mailing to reach those individuals.
The IRS also is working with members of Congress,
state and local officials and national partners such as AARP, the National
Council on Aging, United Way
of America, National Disability Institute and others to continue its extensive
outreach efforts to the retiree and veterans’ communities through the
summer. The IRS will take the lead in
coordinating face-to-face free tax preparation sessions with the help of local
community partners at locations where these individuals live, work and
socialize such as senior housing, Veterans Affairs hospitals and assisted
The agency also reminded people that it has more
than 400 local Taxpayer Assistance Centers operating normal business hours
Monday through Friday. These centers can provide assistance to retirees and
veterans trying to receive their payments. A list for addresses and office
hours can be found at “Contact My Local Office” at http://www.irs.gov.
“Some retirees and others who normally do not file
a tax return may be eligible and not know it. And, that’s where we could use
the public’s help as well. If you know of a retiree or a disabled veteran who
might qualify, please pass along the information to them,” said Shulman.
The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 generally
provided for payments of $600 ($1,200 for married couples filing joint returns
or the amount equal to the 2007 net income tax liability, whichever is less, ),
plus $300 for each qualifying child. Payments also begin to phase out for
individuals with adjusted gross incomes greater than $75,000 ($150,000 married
couples filing jointly).
For people who have no tax liability or no tax
filing requirement, there is a minimum payment of $300 ($600 for married couples),
plus the $300 for each qualifying child. To be eligible for the minimum
payment, individuals must have at least $3,000 in qualifying income. Qualifying income includes any combination of
earned income, nontaxable combat pay and certain benefit payments from Social
Security, Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement.
People not otherwise required to file an income
tax return should file Form 1040A with basic information to ensure they receive
the economic stimulus payment. This information includes name; address;
dependents, if any; amount of qualifying income (which must be $3,000 or more);
direct deposit information and signatures. Forms 1040A and instructions are
available at www.irs.gov.
Although, your payment can be made by check, the
IRS urges people to use direct deposit to ensure a speedy delivery.
The types of Social Security benefits that are
considered qualifying income include retirement, disability and survivor
payments. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is not qualifying income. The
types of Veterans Affairs benefits that are considered qualifying income
include disability compensation, disability pension and survivor payments.
Qualifying Railroad Retirement payments include the social security equivalent
portion of Tier 1 benefits.
Eligible individuals including their qualifying
children, must have valid Social Security numbers. Also, people cannot be
claimed or be eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax
return. People with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, except for the
spouses and qualifying children of military personnel, are not eligible.