Figuring eligibility to recover rebate

January 10, 2009|By EILEEN AMBROSE | EILEEN AMBROSE,eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com

Didn't get an economic stimulus check last year? Or, maybe your rebate check was smaller than the maximum amount?

If so, you might be eligible for rebate recovery. The Internal Revenue Services announced this week that taxpayers will be able to recover a rebate if they are now eligible for the money but weren't before.

The maximum is $600 for individuals; $1,200 for couples. Plus, parents can receive up to $300 per qualified child.

The stimulus payments were based on financial information that appeared on 2007 returns, although technically it was a 2008 credit. So, if your financial situation changed last year, you might be eligible for the rebate if you didn't qualify before.

For instance, if you had a child in 2008, you could get an extra $300. Or, if your income in 2007 was too high to qualify for the rebate, you might be eligible now if your earnings fell last year. Also, if you were ineligible because you were a dependent, but no longer, you can qualify for the rebate.

To recover the rebate, you will need to file a 2008 Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ.

You can calculate the "recovery rebate credit" using the forms' work sheet. The IRS also will offer an online calculator to figure out if you're eligible for the money and how much. It is not up yet, but the IRS is offering other information online.

Or, you can have the IRS do it by following the instructions under "Credit Figured by IRS." Tax software programs will automatically calculate the credit.

If you received a partial rebate last year, you will need to include that amount.

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