Economic stimulus payments: information for recipients of veteran’s benefits

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Starting in May, economic stimulus payments of up to $600 for individuals ($1,200 for married couples) will be issued by the IRS based on 2007 tax returns. Parents also get $300 for each eligible child.

Most people only have to file their 2007 individual income tax return to receive their payment. The IRS will do the rest.

But the IRS needs help reaching millions of people who are usually exempt from filing. People who have at least $3,000 from wages or certain benefits from Social Security, Railroad Retirement and Veterans Affairs may be eligible for a stimulus payment this year.

A special mailing will reach around 100,000 recipients of Social Security and Veterans' benefits in Nebraska, but there are still many low-wage workers who could qualify for the payments.

If you know a senior citizen, a veteran, or a neighbor with low-income, please reach out and urge them to file a tax return this year so that they will get their payment.

The IRS and Treasury Department will be working closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs along with beneficiary organizations to ensure that all eligible individuals know what to do to receive a stimulus payment.

Normally, certain veterans' payments are not subject to income tax. However, the economic stimulus law passed in February contains a special provision allowing recipients of certain veterans' benefits to count those benefits toward the qualifying income requirement of $3,000 and thereby qualify for the stimulus payment.

For eligible veterans who do not normally file a tax return, the IRS has prepared a 10-page informational package that includes instructions, a sample Form 1040A and a blank Form 1040A -- everything needed to file a tax form today. See eligibility requirements below.

· Package 1040A-3, 8-page informational package for people who normally do not file a tax return.

People should note that Line 14a of the Form 1040A and Line 20a of Form 1040 are designated for Social Security. However, these lines should also be used to include any veterans' benefits.

Basic Eligibility Requirements
· Individuals or families must have at least $3,000 in qualifying income, which can be income from or in combination with Social Security benefits, Veterans Affairs benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits and earned income.
· People must have valid Social Security Numbers.
· People cannot be claimed as dependents or eligible to be claimed as dependents on another's tax return.
· People must file a 2007 tax form, i.e. Form 1040A.

Mailing Addresses
Even those who normally don't have to file a federal tax return will have to file one this year in order to claim the economic stimulus payment. Find out where to send yours by visiting http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=180018,00.html.

For Those Who Have Already Filed
Some recipients of the benefits described above may have filed a 2007 tax return reporting at least $3,000 in qualifying income. They do not need to do anything else. They will begin receiving their stimulus payments in early May.

Others may need to amend a previously filed tax return to include benefits to reach the $3,000 qualifying income level. Adding these benefits on an amended tax return will not increase an individual's tax liability but will establish eligibility for the stimulus payment. Taxpayers can use IRS Form 1040X located at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040x.pdf to amend a tax return in order to qualify for the stimulus payment.

Free Tax Help Available
Individuals who need to file a return this year to receive a stimulus payment may be able to take advantage of thousands of free tax preparation sites nationwide for low-income and elderly taxpayers.

Free File
Economic Stimulus Payment located at http://www.irs.gov/efile/lists/0,,id=179739,00. html provides free tax preparation software and electronic filing for people who are submitting a return solely to receive their economic stimulus payment.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides help to low- and moderate-income taxpayers. Call 1-800-906-9887 to locate the nearest VITA site.

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program provides free tax help to people age 60 and older. As part of the IRS-sponsored TCE Program, AARP offers the Tax-Aide counseling program at more than 7,000 sites nationwide during the filing season.

To find an AARP Tax Aide site call 1-888-227-7669 or visit the AARP Web site.