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This article is for tax year 2008. For 2009 and beyond, see our roundup of 8 (or more) Ways to Benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AKA Stimulus Plan).
Updated March 18, 2008 with an estimated schedule of payments.
President Bush has signed into law a $165 billion economic stimulus package providing rebate checks to taxpayers. You might receive a check for $300, $600, $1,200, or even more depending on your conditions.
Originally, PBS Newshour provided a calculator to help taxpayers to determine the amount of the rebate, but that calculator has been proven to be faulty. With the help of Consumerism Commentary reader cdg, I’m now including a new calculator, revised several times over the past few days to increase clarity and accuracy. This calculator properly takes into account the information from the bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the President (H.R.5140) and has been verified by CPAs and tax accountants. However, any information presented should not be considered tax advice.
The validity of the result depends on the accuracy of the information you enter. Before entering the data or asking any questions, please scroll the calculator down to read the definitions and read all the comments at the bottom of this post.
Since this “rebate” is an advance for a new credit which will be included on the 2008 1040 income tax form, it will not affect your 2007 taxes. In April 2008 (this year for 2007’s tax settlement), you will receive what you are owed or you will have to pay what you owe as if the rebate never occurred.
This summer you will receive the rebate for the 2008 credit as calculated above.
In April 2009 or thereabouts, when you file your taxes for 2008, the IRS will run the calculation for the stimulus rebate credit again. If the results show that you would have received more (due to an additional child, for instance), you will be sent the difference. If your results show that you would have received a smaller rebate, then you get to keep the difference. This is an additional credit. You do not have to pay back to the IRS what you will receive this summer. Receiving this advance will not reduce next year’s refund nor will you owe more federal tax.
March 18 Update: The IRS has released a schedule estimating when you will receive your rebate.
Updated June 24, 2016 and originally published January 28, 2008.