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Getting it right on tax returns

Posted: February 25, 2009 8:23 p.m.
Updated: February 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

An early IRS sampling of tax returns shows about 15 percent have errors involving the recovery rebate credit that is related to last year’s economic stimulus payment.

Taxpayers can eliminate errors and avoid delays in their federal income tax refund when claiming the recovery rebate credit.

Facts about the stimulus
Some individuals who did not get the economic stimulus payment, and a smaller number of those who did, may be eligible for the recovery rebate credit.

Most taxpayers who received the economic stimulus payment from 2007 will not qualify for the recovery rebate credit on their 2008 federal income tax return.

If you received an economic stimulus payment last year, knowing that amount will help determine whether filers qualify for the recovery rebate credit.

Three ways to find out
Here are three ways to find out the amount of the economic stimulus payment filers received:

* Check the amount listed on Notice 1378, which the IRS mailed last year to those who received a stimulus payment.

* Go to the “how much was my stimulus payment?” tool available on the Web site.

* Call the IRS toll free at (866) 234-2942.

You’ll need to provide your filing status, Social Security number and number of exemptions.

Knowing this amount allows you or your tax preparer to enter it on the recovery rebate credit worksheet (used for paper returns) or in the appropriate location when your tax software requests it.

Using the IRS worksheet
The worksheet or the software then applies the amount you report to help calculate the recovery rebate credit that, if any, is then entered on your tax return. You do not enter the amount of the economic stimulus payment directly on your tax return.

This information was provided to The Signal by the Internal Revenue Service.


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