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Filing Your 2008 Taxes With the Economic Stimulus (Recovery Rebate Credit)

This article was written by in Taxes. 171 comments.

If you didn’t received a payment from the economic stimulus that was devised by the United States government last year and your situation now qualifies you for the credit, you should claim this amount when filing your 2008 taxes.

On the 2008 tax filing forms, there is a line designated to enter this amount, listed as the recovery rebate credit. On the traditional 1040 form, it is line 70. On the 1040A, enter your economic stimulus amount on line 42. The 1040EZ requires the rebate credit on line 9. Here is what the line looks like on the 1040; click on the thumbnail for a larger snapshot.

Recovery Rebate Credit

The instructions for all three forms include a worksheet to help you calculate how much of a credit you should receive towards your 2008 tax due. By following the instructions on the worksheet, you can calculate the credit you should receive based on your 2008 tax situation, list the credit you received last year if any, and subtract the latter from the former to get the amount of the remaining credit owed to you.

If the result is a positive number, you can claim an additional credit. If the result is a negative number, you don’t have to pay back what you received in 2008. You get to keep the excess credit you received. In most cases, if you received a payment in 2008 for the economic stimulus, you will enter zero on this line.

To simplify everything, just enter “RRC” on this line on the tax form. This will instruct the IRS to calculate the recovery rebate for you. Also, if you file electronically, your software will ask you the appropriate questions to calculate the recovery rebate.

Just so it’s clear, the 2008 economic stimulus is a new credit that’s appearing on the 2008 income tax forms that are due in April 2009. Either you received your credit as an advance in 2008 (the “economic stimulus payment”) or you claim it when filing your taxes (the “recovery rebate credit”); thus, the net effect is the same.

Updated September 13, 2011 and originally published January 2, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 171 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

If you had a child during the year 2008, after you received your stimulus check, can you file to get the extra rebate on your taxes?

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avatar 2 Luke Landes

Mincus: Yes, the new child should provide you with another $300. So file your taxes and claim this amount, but check with the IRS’s calculator to be sure.

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avatar 3 Anonymous

my parents claimed me this year, but i’ve since graduated college and am gainfully employed. am i eligible now? should i just put “RRC” and let the government figure it out?

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avatar 4 Anonymous

sorry meant to say last year

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avatar 5 Luke Landes

Jason: RRC is a safe bet, but you should qualify. Your parents probably didn’t receive the extra $300 for you last year (they shouldn’t have if you were 18 or older, even if you were claimed as a dependent). Even if you were 17 last year (that would mean you were a “qualifying” child), and your parents received the $300 additional for you, you’d still be able to claim your own credit now. “RRC” puts your trust in the IRS to figure that out.

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avatar 6 Anonymous

I was playing with TurboTax and H&R Block online and both of them have a question regarding the stimulus check so it appears they cover this topic as well.

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avatar 7 Anonymous

I am in the same situation as jason above. Where can I find more info on this? The extra cash would definitely help this year.. I made a decent amount on my side business and anticipate owing a ton of taxes this year.

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avatar 8 Luke Landes

Dave: See my reply to Jason above. If you had income for the first time in 2008, you’ll qualify for the recovery rebate credit. The IRS also offers lots of information, sometimes too much.

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avatar 9 Anonymous

ERROR ON WORKSHEET INDICATES If you are not a 2008 active duty armed forces, credit
Has to be a typo, but on all the worksheets!

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avatar 10 Luke Landes

Bob: That certainly is an error.

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avatar 11 Anonymous

From everything that I have read on the economic stimulus check it is my understanding that the amount you received will not have any affect on the amount you receive back when filing your 2008 taxes. However on H & R blocks website it asks how much your check was for. I entered in $ 900 and went through all the other questions, it gave me my refund amount. I then went back and entered 0 and answered all the other questions the same as the first time. The refund amount was exactly $900 more. The only thing that has changed for me from 2007 to 2008 is that I did not pay for any child care, and I made a little under $2,000 less in 2008. Why is it that they are taking that $900 back from my 2008 refund?

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avatar 12 Luke Landes

ladydevious: They’re not taking anything back from you. There is only one credit, and most people, you included, received it as an advance last year. Since you already received your credit last year, you’re not receiving another one this year when you file 2008’s tax return.

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avatar 13 Anonymous

Forgive my ignorance here, so what your saying is that the economic stimulus check was simply a partial advance on our 2008 refund? If we got a stimulus check for $ 900 and we were going to get say $2300 back when we file our 2008 taxes we will now get $1400 back , since we received the $900 “advance”.

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avatar 14 Luke Landes

ladydevious: That’s pretty much right. It was a full advance on a new credit that’s part of the 2008 tax forms. So yeah, if you were going to get $2,300 back taking the new credit into account, then you would have received the $900 last year and the $1,400 this year. The reason we say that the stimulus payment didn’t “affect 2008 tax returns” is because without the law creating the economic stimulus payment (now called the recovery rebate credit), you would have received only $1,400 this year anyway.

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avatar 15 Anonymous

layddevious: flexo is only partially correct (or I should say the answer is worded incorrectly to answer your question). The stimulus payment last year was an advance on the credit for 2008, but it in no way changes the amount of the refund you would have been entitled to without the stimulus payment. If you normally would have qualified for $2,300, you would still get back $2,300. The credit simply means that you would have been entitled to an additional up to $600/$1200 credit, it was just “refunded” to you early. So lets say you are single and got $600 last year. On this year’s return you are entitled to the credit of $600, however, you have already recieved the funds, so the net effect on your return is $0 and you still get your $2,300 refund. So in short, the stimulus payment was an advance of the credit, not on your refund.

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avatar 16 Luke Landes

Nico: That’s what I meant. :-) Thank you for helping to clarify.

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avatar 17 Anonymous

bob: The line is not an error (I original thought the same thing). If you answered yes to question #2 about having a valid social security number, you skip lines 3 and 4. Otherwise, the Armed Forces service comes into play.

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avatar 18 Anonymous

So, basically what i’m getting is, there was no “economic stimulus” last year. We basically got a loan with no interest from this years returns? What kind of stimulus plan is that? I would have rather left my taxes as is, and gotten the normal amount. What good is a stimulus if we have to now have it subtracted from our taxes? This will leave us in a worse situation than it left us last year.

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avatar 19 Luke Landes

haloking: If there had been no stimulus, you’d be receiving the same refund or paying the same tax bill you are right now. The stimulus was a *new credit* on the 2008 tax form that you received early. Just forget about the tax form, it’s irrelevant. Your tax bill or refund is no different now than it would have been if they never enacted the stimulus.

You got your money for this credit last year, so you’re not getting it *again* this year. They’re not taking it “back,” they’re just not giving you two credits.

The reason they call it a stimulus is because on the bottom line, you’ve received more money thanks to the new credit, and you received it very fast, encouraging immediate spending. Whether the stimulus worked is another question entirely.

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avatar 20 Anonymous

I am in US as resident alien. My spouse did not had SSN last year as she did not plan to work. Last Dec (2008) she applied for SSN which she is expecting in next two weeks. As I filled the returns as Joint and she did not SSN, I did not receive any stimulus credit. Is it possible to apply recoverable rebate credit? Thanks

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avatar 21 Anonymous

I am a single parent with one small child (a dependent) who has many health expenses and daycare beyond the norm. I did not qualify due to my income, while others who have a spouse as a dependent qualified for a check. Will the 2009 stimulus account for my situation?

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avatar 22 Anonymous

I got question did my taxes last year and had to redo cause the first one i did i didnt qualify so i did 10-40x an redid it then qualified will i get a stimulus check this year then?

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avatar 23 Anonymous

About this stimulus check.. i beg to differ i usually get rougly 2400 back each year.. the only thing that had changed this last year was the stimulus check and yes they did take that out of the 2400 i normally recieve…

Use what words you want… I would not have gotten less taxes this year.. i didnt have a salary reduction.. nothing changed but that darn check.. now i get less back.. that is how it truely is.

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avatar 24 Luke Landes

memyselfandi: Check with your tax accountant, he or she will explain that they’re not taking anything “additional” out of your refund. You received a stimulus payment in 2008 rather than a recovery credit in 2009. You get one or the other, or in rare cases, an additional recovery credit in 2009 if your situation changed and you now qualify for a higher amount than you did when the stimulus payment was calculated next year. If you disagree, look at your numbers in more detail or ask a tax accountant to do it for you.

Yes, the do-it-yourself tax programs make it confusing, but it’s a simple concept. To reduce to the basic idea: In 2008, I planned to give you and 10 other people $100 in 2009, but I decided to give it to just you early in 2008 — as an “advance.”

Now that it’s 2009, I’m not going to give you the $100 again; you already received it last year. Nor are you required to pay me the $100 back. It’s yours, you received it early. But all the other people I said I’d give $100 to in 2009 will receive it in 2009 because I didn’t give them an advance.

Only in the case of the stimulus credit, most people received the advance and very few are catching up.

Blame the IRS and Congress for not enacting the credit in a more straightforward manner.

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avatar 25 Anonymous

I have used to e-file my taxes for the last few years. In late December 2008 or early January 2009 I went to their website to prepare my taxes so I would have an idea of how much my income tax refund was going to be(I wasn’t aware of the Rebate Credit at that time).

The taxslayer program prompts you to enter the amount received in 2008 for the Economic Stimulus plan. If you can’t remember how much you recieved (which I couldn’t) there is a link to the IRS Rebate Credit Calculator which uses your SSN, Filing Status (Head of Household) and number of exemptions (two) to tell you how much you received. The amount generated on the IRS site is automatically placed in the taxslayer form.

When I used this link the first time the amount that showed up was $600. Today I went through and used it again and the amount generated was $900! I filed my taxes yesterday using the $600 figure. Now my refund will no doubt be delayed for weeks while the IRS examines my return because the data doesn’t match up.

I can’t figure out what happened. Was I supposed to wait until a certain date to use the Rebate Calculator? Was there a glitch in either the taxslayer or IRS programs? I could have entered the wrong filing status I guess, but I’m sure I put in the correct SSN and number of dependents.

Does anyone have any ideas?

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avatar 26 Anonymous

Update to last post: I’ve been doing some research and the online tool I used was “How much was my Stimulus Payment” which was updated on Jan 2, 2009. The SSN, Filing Status, and exemption requirements are the same as reported above. I tried typing in a Filing Status different from what I reported on my 2007 taxes, but recieved and error message directing me to recheck my information so I’m doubtful I mistakenly entered the wrong info the first time. My theory is that prior to the Jan 2nd update my SSN brought up the $600 amount and after the update my SSN brought up the $900 amount.

None of this will put my refund in my bank account any faster but wanted to share in case anyone else found themselves in the same situation.

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avatar 27 Anonymous

I just did my taxes and if I enter that I got the rebate I owe 600, if I say I didn’t get one I get 600. Sounds to me that my goverment lied to us, that it would not affect this years taxes. They should have gave us all savings bonds. Now I will be worse off then last year. Thanks.

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avatar 28 Anonymous

I am still a little confused after reading the posts concerning the stimulus checks. We are not getting a refund, we ower this year. First time through on turbo Tax, we owed $600 to the IRS. Second time thorugh after inputting the $1800 stimulus check amount we received, my owed amount is now $2400. Do I really owe the $1800 difference?

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avatar 29 Anonymous


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avatar 30 Anonymous

Before you got your stimulus check last year they mailed out a letter sounds like most of you did not read it. On the letter it states that we do have to file the check as extra income.

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avatar 31 Luke Landes

Scot: That’s incorrect. The letter did not say that, and you do NOT need to claim the stimulus payment you received in 2008 as income.

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avatar 32 Anonymous

I didn’t received Stimulus payment last year. I am on F1 visa and I filled my 2007 income tax with married filling jointly. I checked on IRS website how much stimulus payment I received and it shows me $0.00. Don’t I qualify for stimulus payment this year. My last year income was $2500.

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avatar 33 Anonymous

so if i got back 400 last year from the rebate and when i fille this year are they going to take the 400 out of this tax return

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avatar 34 Anonymous

My Husband & I recvd $1200 in 2008. How exactly does this work. Are we going to recv a W-2 form or do we just enter on the line as listed above. Like los asked are they putting this as income & we will be taxed on the $1200.

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avatar 35 Luke Landes

Michelle: If the $1,200 was from the stimulus credit, then no, it is not income, you do not have to claim it as income, you will not be taxed on it, and you will not receive a W2 or 1099 for it. However, since you received it last year, you won’t receive it *again* now.

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avatar 36 Anonymous

Thanks for your assistance.

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avatar 37 Anonymous

I had many questions about this topic. so i spoke with a Tax Advisor online at H & R block .com. and this is what they said.

The reason you are including the figure you received for the stimulus check you received last year is that the rebate goes over a 2 year period and you might be eligible for additional stimulus this year. It does not affect your refund this year as it is not part of your income.

Thank you

H&R Block

Any advice included in this message is based on our understanding of current tax law as it applies to the facts that you gave us. If the facts are changed, or there are other facts we don’t know about, our analysis of your situation as well as our conclusions and advice could be very different. In that event, please do not rely on our advice for completing your tax return. We have not given you this written advice, and you may not use it, for purposes of avoiding penalties that the IRS may impose on you.

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avatar 38 Anonymous

Well it seems to me that people who are at the break even mark every year on their taxes are the ones that are being hurt the most this year . With the stimulus payments in 2008. after doing multiple returns for individuals, it has come back each and every time that these individuals now owe the exact amount of the stimulus payment they received with out change to their filing status, income levels , or exemptions. Our United states Goverment has essentially screwed each and every one of the hard working americans who did not understand this credit when they cashed that check and did not truly understand the effects on their 2009 returns. I would advise if a second stimulus payment is passed by Mr. Obama that you all write return to sender on it . These returns were done on turbo tax website where this exact question was closed down at the peak of tax season..

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avatar 39 Anonymous

Here’s my question:

My husband and I filed as MFJ last year. We got a rebate check for 2100 this summer. However, by that time we were no longer together. We both maintain our own homes. 2 children live with me while 1 lives with him. This year we each are filing HOH. I have already done my taxes and when it came to the rebate question turboxtax already had the 2100 inputted. My question is when my husband goes to file his taxes today will he too put the 2100 or does only 1 of us need to put it or were we suppose to split it in half. We collectively got that money. It seems that putting it on his return looks as if we had 4200. Please advise! Thanks

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avatar 40 Anonymous

Received an e-mail from our software provider that contained the following:

“The IRS has advised the industry partners that any file that requests the recovery rebate will cause and internal error within the IRS system. The only error resolution is a manual review of the tax return. They are advising the industry that there will be significant delays in files that are accepted by the IRS and also have Recovery Rebate requests on them.”

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avatar 41 Anonymous

I was doing our taxes this morning on Turbo Tax (I have trusted them for over 3 years now) and I was shocked. We were getting back exactly $887 for federal and as soon as I claimed that we recieved $1200 from the economic stiumulus it changed and said that we owed $313. Do the math. That difference is the $1200.

I feel a little disappointed and betrayed. I wish I would have know the facts when we recieved this money to begin with.

Thanks for posting comments and replies because this has helped me understand what is really going on. Thanks and the best of luck to all. My advice for the next economic stimulus plan, don’t spend the money and save it for your 2009 tax return or like that one guy said, “return to sender”.

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avatar 42 Luke Landes

Andrea: Why are you disappointed and betrayed? Over the course of the past year, you received $1,200 more than you would have without the economic stimulus. You’re not paying that money back. Of course the amount changed when you (correctly) input that you received your economic stimulus. You’re not going to receive it twice.

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avatar 43 Anonymous

It seems no one other than Flexo (and myself) get this. See, the reason you “owe” the amt of your stimulus is that if you DON’T enter the amt, it gives it to you AGAIN! This is not right since you already RECEIVED it. So then you put in that you got it already, and it TAKES IT AWAY. But, not really since you RECEIVED it last year!

You guys just aren’t listening. you can only get it once. you already got it. you put that you got it and since the software added it incorrectly, it now takes it away. You don’t owe anything more than you would have without it.

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avatar 44 Anonymous

So more or less you got a loan last year that you are paying off this year

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avatar 45 Luke Landes

No, that is NOT the case. You’re not paying anything back. You’re just not getting it twice. This has been explained extensively. I don’t know how else to say it, but the 2008 economic stimulus payment was NOT a loan, it was an ADVANCE PAYMENT of a new tax credit.

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avatar 46 Anonymous

what if we had not cashed our checks….

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avatar 47 Luke Landes

Well, if you didn’t cash your check you could try asking the IRS to send you a new one or to allow to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. As far as the IRS is concerned, they’ve sent you your check and you received your credit.

avatar 48 Anonymous

so every year from here on out we should get 1200 every year if this is a new tax credit?

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avatar 49 Luke Landes

Unfortunately it was just a one-time tax credit, so don’t expect it every year.

avatar 50 Anonymous

Two things have changed since recieveing our stimulus check oneis we had our third child in october 2008 and our total household income is slightly less than last year. We recieved $1800 stimulus last year, does this mean we will recieve the $300 difference because we had one more child? thanks for your time :)

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avatar 51 Anonymous

Flexo: I don’t think you are quite getting the point that most of these folks are upset about. Just to clarify, Example 1; if you normally receive 1200.00 on your income taxes and you have 3 children and are married you would have received 2100.00 last summer. (Problem) most folks believed the Govt’ had their best interest at heart and they were going to get the money free and clear! Now, when you file your taxes this year and enter the 2100.00……. Low and behold you are now in debt to the IRS for 900.00. Just exactly how did the Govt help you…..? Your guess is as good as mine….. The Govt’ should have called the Stimulus check…….2008 tax advance check! That way the average Joe Plumber could have made a logical decision to hold on to some of the money to pay Uncle Sam the difference when tax time rolls around. But…. If Uncle Sam told you all of that then you wouldn’t have spent all the money and their delusions of stimulus would have gone down the drain!!! BEWARE OBAMBA is trying to do the same thing again so you might want to hold on to your Duckets so you aren’t in the same situation next year!!!

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avatar 52 Luke Landes

GVTSux: The stimulus was NOT an advance on your tax REFUND, it was an advance on a NEW TAX CREDIT. Those people who say the receive a $1,200 refund like clockwork each year? I don’t know anyone who can say with any certainty that they receive the same amount every year. Tax laws change, income levels change, etc., and all of that has an effect on your refund or final tax bill.

In theory, if you could count on receiving a $1,000 refund each year (for example), the stimulus check you received in 2008 would be on top of that, and you would still receive a $1,000 refund this year. Life is not that perfect in practice, however, and no one receives the same refund every year like clockwork.

*The reason that your tax refund is lower if you (correctly) enter that you received a stimulus payment than if you say you did not receive one is because you are not going to receive the stimulus payment twice.* Other than that, other tax laws change, you earn different amounts of income, the level of standard deduction has changed… There are many reasons why your tax refund might be higher or lower.

*The 2008 economic stimulus payment was not an advance on your tax refund. You are not paying it back to the government. In almost all cases, you will not receive it twice.* It is simply a NEW CREDIT on the 2008 tax return that you RECEIVED EARLY in 2008. You can’t receive it again.

The government was crazy for enacting this credit in such a way that it could cause confusion, but that’s what they did. Now many people are upset because it looks like they’re getting a smaller refund “because” of the economic stimlus, but *that is not true.*

Take your taxes to a professional, and if they are worth their price, they’ll tell you the same thing.

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avatar 53 Anonymous

You can explain it until you’re blue in the face, if you’d like but in my book they gave us a loan and now they want it back. We usually get a return each year. This year we filed differently and would, on a normal year, break even. Owe nothing, get nothing. Except that lovely check they sent us last year, they want back and now we will owe them the exact amount of that deceptive check that we received last year. They are taking it back. I don’t care how you explain it.

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avatar 54 Anonymous

Flexo; I guess I should have said average 1200.00. In my case: I have averaged 4000.00 – 4500.00 in tax returns for the past three years. But this year I am only getting back 1990.00. I’m pretty sure the tax codes didn’t change that much for last year as my financial situation is still the same as it has been for the past few years. I guess that is why I am inclined to use the term “Advance”. If I add 2100.00 to 1990.00 it puts me back around my average of 4000.00.

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avatar 55 Anonymous

Ok, so… I don’t make much money, so I dont get much back from my tax refund as it is. To be completely honest, I have never gotten more than $400 back on a tax refund that I can recall… Now, say I would receive my typical tax refund of around $350 this year after filiing. However, I received the $600 “stimulus” check last year. Does that mean I am going to OWE $300 or so, rather than receiving it, because my “stimulus” check was more than I normally get back?! And so I wont have the tiny bit of extra cash I look forward to every year, and have to give what I dont have to begin with?!

In hind-sight, the whole thing has turned out to completely rediculous, and had most of us been FULLY aware of the process to come, I for one, certainly would not have agreed to receive that stupid check last year. I’d rather not have to deal with it now!!!

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avatar 56 Anonymous

… and by the way, I fully understand how this works, it’s just an severe inconvinience. Instead of receiving my measly $300 last year, and this year, not last year I got an extra $600. Which means that not only will I not get the $300 I normally do, but I will OWE $300, of my money to cover the other $300, because I don’t get that much back normally!

…So just before you say you think I dont get it, I do.
And yes, because of that check I will OWE money this year, which I have never had to do before!

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avatar 57 Luke Landes

properlypeeved: The $300 you received last year was for a new tax credit which wouldn’t have appeared on the tax form if the economic stimulus wasn’t created. Theoretically, that check should have no bearing on whether you owe money or how much money you owe this year, because it was a new credit on the tax form. But I still find it highly unlikely that anyone can predict the same refund year after year when tax laws, rate tables, and incomes change.

Nevertheless, the government obviously made a huge mistake in the implementation of this credit.

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avatar 58 Anonymous

Flexo –

Based on others replies, it seems that if they left the stimulus check completely off their tax preparation software the resulting refund (if the case) would be in-line with what they would normally receive (hypothetically).

When the stimulus check amount was included within their tax preparation software it would reduce their expected refund amounts.

Now I’m not sure how the economic tax credit it supposed to work, but if by what you’re saying above is true and that the stimulus check was an advanced payment of a future tax credit, then when does the tax credit appear? Especially if one never received or used their stimulus check.

Meaning – I do not see one person mention an increase of their normally received refund (which I might expect if this “tax credit”, as you put it, is real). Otherwise, if not on the 2008 tax returns, when will people receive a credit/payment for the stimulus check they did NOT receive last year? Not sure I completely get it.

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avatar 59 Luke Landes

Onionslinger: Yep, it’s a new tax credit, now called the “recovery rebate credit,” that’s appearing on the 2008 forms. I understand that many people are seeing that they’re not receiving the refund they thought they’d receive, and thanks to online tax forms, it’s very easy to pretend you didn’t receive the economic stimulus payment and leave the recovery rebate credit line blank. The result of that would be a higher refund (or lower tax bill) — to make up for the advance payment that wasn’t received last year. The people who are finding this website are those who want more money — wouldn’t we all — and are looking for answers. People who are receiving what they expect or who understand the recovery rebate credit (or trust their software or their tax accountant) aren’t searching the web to find an answer to a question.

So to answer your question, those who did not receive the economic stimulus check/direct deposit in 2008 will discover they will receive a higher refund (or owe less money) as they fill out their 2008 tax return forms. That’s why the amount of refund or tax due changes when someone changes the amount they put in the line for the RRC.

Keep in mind that I’m not a tax professional. I’m just someone who has read the law, this particular bit of the tax code, and the IRS’s instructions pertaining to the RRC. Assuming the IRS trains its employees well, you can always call them for official explanations.

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avatar 60 Anonymous

Thanks for the prompt response and clarification. Based on your comment, “The people who are finding this website are those who want more money..and are looking for answers.”, the general tone/purpose of the thread is better explained – also one of which it appears that I missed. Lot of ground in this one.

I read the RRC and thought I understood it clearly ..and I imagine I want absolute peace of mind myself.


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avatar 61 Anonymous

I would like to know if anyone else has this problem.

I understand the credit calculation, but I did double check with the IRS website on how much it said I received as a stimulus payment and it differs from what I actually received.

This is my question: If I received $300 and the IRS say I received $600 what should I use on my return?

This would be a net difference on my return of $300. If I use the correct amount what will the IRS do if the IRS website thinks I received $600?

Thanks for your thoughts.

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avatar 62 Luke Landes

Flyboy: You should have received a letter around the time you received your stimulus payment. The amount you enter on the RRC line of your 2008 return should match the amount in the letter (“Notice 1378”), which should match the amount you received. The IRS calculator is an estimation (though it is usually accurate)… you should fill out your taxes using the amount you received (which should be the amount in the letter). That’s my non-professional opinion; it won’t hurt to call the IRS and ask them.

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avatar 63 Anonymous

All I am saying is that if I would have wanted a loan in the summer of 2008 I would have went out and got one. I would have preffered to get back almost $900 this year than $1200 last summer as a “credit” and now owing a little over $300 on this years return. Tax credit – hah! People who didn’t get it last year are just going to have to claim it next year. I understand the whole concept, but maybe I should have looked into better when we recieved the payment so I could put a little over $300 aside to save for tax time.

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avatar 64 Anonymous

Bottom line is stimulus check was “free” money and has NO effect on your 2008 taxes. The problem is the way it is shown/calculated on the tax forms/tax preparation software/websites.

Tax calculator programs seem to “assume” you did not get the stimulus check at the beginning of the process so that amount (let’s assume it is $1200) is added to your taxes at the beginning as a credit. Later in the process it asks how much you received. If you enter $1200 than that credit is canceled out and it looks like you owe the $1200 but in fact your TAXES remain the same.

Assume your taxes on income, investments, etc would have been +$200 ($200 back to you). The tax software/programs starts you off showing a +$1400 tax bill ($1400 refund). Once you say you got the stimulus check of $1200 last year your rebate goes back to $200. That is what your TAXES are. Plain and simple.

It was free money, the problem is in the presentation on tax program/software.

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avatar 65 Anonymous

I already filed my returns and it said I was eligible for a $300 credit. Is that amount already added into my refund amount that TurboTax said I would receive?

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avatar 66 Luke Landes

Meghan: Yes, if you’re receiving any portion of the Recovery Rebate Credit, it’s included in your tax refund (or subtracted from the tax you owe).

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avatar 67 Anonymous

My husband and I filed as MFJ last year. We got a rebate check for 2100 this summer. However, by that time we were no longer together. We both maintain our own homes. 2 children live with me while 1 lives with him. This year we each are filing HOH. I have already done my taxes and when it came to the rebate question turboxtax already had the 2100 inputted. My question is when my husband goes to file his taxes today will he too put the 2100 or does only 1 of us need to put it or were we suppose to split it in half. We collectively got that money. It seems that putting it on his return looks as if we had 4200. Please advise! Thanks

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avatar 68 Anonymous

If the tax programs worked the way dbrakob just described, then I don’t think we would be having this discussion. I have used both TurboTax and HRBlock to explore this and neither one of them starts you out with $600/$1,200. All I know is that last year, my wife and I got back around $600 and this year we owe about the same. Do the math. You can call it whatever you want. Who cares. In the end, you still end up paying the government $600/$1200 that you wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m curious if some of you who appear to be experts have done your taxes yet.

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avatar 69 Luke Landes

Why would your tax software start you out with $600 or $1,200? That’s nowhere in the tax code. You already received your stimulus payment, so you’re not getting the recovery rebate credit. It’s too bad you owe more this year — I will, too — but despite what it *looks* like to you, it has nothing to do with the economic stimulus. It has to do with different amounts of taxable income in 2008, different tax brackets, a different standard deduction, and other changes that occur each year.

The reason we’re having this discussion is because people who understand the recovery rebate credit *aren’t* searching the internet for more information and visiting this page. Only people with questions are searching Google and arriving here.

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avatar 70 Anonymous

I actually don’t think it starts you with the stimulus credit but once it gets enough info like filing status (single, joint), dependents, etc it calculates your stimulus amount and adds that to your return. Later on when you enter what you got last year in the stimulus check it deducts that.

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avatar 71 Luke Landes

dbrakob: Ok, that makes sense from a programming standpoint. I also forgot that most online software shows you a “running total” of your refund or bill at the top of the screen, which is very user-friendly but can lead to confusion, and in rare cases, hysteria.

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avatar 72 Anonymous

I don’t owe more this year. I owe. Never before in my life have I ever had to pay anything in a tax return. I am familiar with the tax brackets, I always take the standard deduction and am familiar with past figures. I don’t judge early. I wait until I get to the ready to file page. Again, have you tried to file online?

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avatar 73 Luke Landes

agf: If your question is directed at me, then yes, I’ve run my information online, but it’s not relevant to this discussion because most of my income has no withholding. I owe more than I ever have before but it has nothing to do with the stimulus, it’s because I have much more income than what is reflected on my W2 thanks to my “side business.”

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avatar 74 Anonymous


Is your “side business” spending all day posting on this site?

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avatar 75 Luke Landes

Kerouac: I wish I could spend all day posting, and at some point it may be a possibility, but for now I write mostly at night as a “second job.” (The posts are then scheduled to be published the next morning or throughout the day.) I may drop in to answer a few quick questions during the daytime if my day-job schedule allows (though I shouldn’t be).

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avatar 76 Anonymous

My husband and I have a child in 2008 so that means we should get an extra $300 right? My question is we also lost a child in 2007 that we won’t be claiming in 2008. So we’re still claiming the same amount of children this 08 tax year (2) as the 07 tax year (2). Does the IRS recognize this? Or do they children “wash” each other? I mean they’d have to check ss#s to see it’s not the same dependent.

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avatar 77 Luke Landes

Mamasox: That’s not typical. It sounds like since you had two qualifying children last year and two qualifying children this year, you won’t receive an additional credit. If you call the IRS (make sure you talk to someone familiar with the Recovery Rebate Credit), let us know what you find out.

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avatar 78 Anonymous

That’s had a child in 2008.. sorry

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avatar 79 Anonymous

I would just like to say that I do not fully understand the rules, however I was searching for an entirely different topic, whether or not filing my taxes early would prevent my husband and I from receiving any of the tax benefits being put in place by President Obama that have not been passed yet. I have not found the answer to that, but I would like to say that we got a portion of what was expected of the stimulus last year(900 instead of 1500 we should have received). After figuring our taxes this year, we ARE getting the difference of what we should have received as well as an extra 300 for my son who was born in 2008.I am not sure how much the deductions have changed from last year to this, but we are getting a substansial amount back compared to last year. It may not really make a difference as we owe state and they may take it from us there, so I guess I am saying if they are gonna get ya they are gonna get ya one way or the other. But, whatever they take from that to pay state will be that much less we do not have to pay out of pocket. We were kinda screwed out of the deal last year but I am praying we make up for it this year and actually have money coming back, which does not seem like is happening for many people to actually physically see the money. Just wanted to input my opinion that I am on of those that is seeing a positive difference this year, if you could call it that.

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avatar 80 Anonymous

Sounds like to me this stimulas check works exactly the way my pay program is set up on my job, for instance Im in sales and say I made a sale and Im going to recieve $2000 in commission the next day I get a $500 check, six weeks later I get paid for that sale, IT WORKS LIKE THIS

PAY $1500.00
Back to stimulus check, say its $500 this year,Last year I received $300. I BELIEVE IT WORKS THE SAME


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avatar 81 Anonymous

Another error in the worksheet.

On the Recovery Rebate Credit worksheet I received, Line 3:
Are you filing a joint return for 2008?
Yes. Go to Line 5
No. You cannot take the credit. Stop here.

My wife died three years ago. If I took this literally, I would not be able to apply for almost six hundred dollars (it is limited to the amount of tax you owe) in recovery rebate credit. I did not make enough to qualify last year, so I could really use it.

Two errors on one worksheet (see above error about apparently needing to be in the armed forces). Wow!

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avatar 82 Anonymous

Thank you for posting! It made no sense why you had to file a joint return to take this credit!

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avatar 83 Anonymous

So nico help me out here please, I received $900 for my rebate last year, so what do I put next to the line that reads “Recovery rebate credit”? I entered the whole 900 and my refund came back -900. Should i just leave it blank or enter 0.

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avatar 84 Anonymous

The biggest problem i have with this whole situation is that i had no choice in the matter. Okay,yeah, i could have just held onto the $1200 that me and my wife recieved from the government and could use that to pay them what we owe this year. Why would anyone do that? Everywhere,including the IRS, said that this money would not be taxable. Now that statement is true but what they didn’t explain in any sort of way was that it was going to effect your return this year. I may have paid off some bills last year but now i’m back in the hole again. A little hole but a hole non the less. I reiterate, we the people did not have a choice! That is why im upset.

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avatar 85 Anonymous

I received the $600 economic stimulus check last May but now the IRS forms are deducting that amount from my tax refund of 2008 . (How is this supposed the simulate anything when they take it back 7 months later.)
I tried to ignore that line but the IRS rejected my tax return and only when I added the $600 on my forms and it was deducted from my return did they accept my forms.

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avatar 86 Anonymous

It is to bad to see so much confusion over this issue. I believe it comes from the fact that several filing programs automatically enter a rebate amount and then later back it out after the “amount received in 2008” is entered. As a result many think they are “loosing” the payment, which is not the case.

One issue that has risen and I am trying to confirm, does claiming additional stimulus or entering RRC on the return slow down the refund. I have been told that the IRS is red-flagging these returns and refunds are being held up 8 – 10 weeks.

If this is the case would I be better off not claiming the stimulus and not entering RRC and then assume that the IRS will review my records and determine if it is due to me?

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avatar 87 Anonymous

I mailed my return 1-31-09 and claimed $600 additional stimulus (we had no tax liability in 2007 but we do for 2008). I usually get my refund direct deposited fairly quickly, so I can post if it takes more than a few weeks…. although even if they red-flag it, they will easily see that we had less credits and more income this year.

I personally wouldn’t trust the IRS to make sure that you will get additional credits. I would rather wait a few extra weeks than have to file an amended return if they didn’t catch it.

Oh and BTW, the RRC did not affect my return in ANY way other than getting the additional funds. However, I do my own taxes without a program, so I wasn’t under any illusions ;)

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avatar 88 Anonymous

I did my taxes online and the stimulus check is pushing me into owing over $800 – if it weren’t counted would have a refund. The check itself was for $900.

The thing is, I never got the check it was diverted by student loans. The same student loans that garnish my paychecks at 25% with no end in sight even though the amount of the loan has been paid back at several times it’s value.

Is there anything I can do about this since I never even received the payment? Can it still be considered as income if it was diverted? I don’t know how I can pay an $800 tax bill when student loans who got the payment in the first place also make it so there is no disposable income.

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avatar 89 Anonymous

I Just got married in november, after i received my stimulus check. will I now be able to file for the rebate on my taxes? and how should we file last years taxes?

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avatar 90 Anonymous


I already mailed in my 1040 EZ.

I was not eligible to recieve the stimulus last year because I was a dependent. This year I am not a dependent and am therefore eligible.

I forgot to enter on line 9 that I should be recieving $600 as a credit rebate because I didn’t see it. I have already mailed my form. What do I do now to ensure I get the rebate credit? Do I have to amend it?

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avatar 91 Luke Landes

SMontego: The IRS *should* catch it and add your stimulus to your refund.

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avatar 92 Anonymous

I got married this year and we are filing jointly. Do you put in our combined stimulus check amounts? (We received separate checks before we got married)

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avatar 93 Anonymous

Perhaps Flexo can help answer this question.

I did not receive the stimulus last year. MFJ with 2 kids. One kid turned 18 in 2008. The other is 16.

If I got the stimulus last year, it would have been $1200.

In reading through the material, I guess I am only eligible for $900.

Please correct me if I am wrong….

Furthermore, I am itemizing and so my child tax credit may be limited. This has an effect of further lowering the Recovery Rebate Credit to $600.

Thus, if was eligible in 2007 tax returns, I would have received $1200, but 2008 would amount to $600.

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avatar 94 Anonymous

think0011 – It’s based off of 2008 returns. If you had gotten it in 2007 it was just given “early” to start folks spending. If you got over the amt you were due based on 2008 taxes you were allowed to keep it, so you would have had the $1200.

Basically, I think the only thing you can do is file 2008 taxes and get $600. Why didn’t you get it in 2007? You probably should have tried tracking it down when it was based off of 2007 numbers. You can’t choose the better option; they just wanted the money out there immediately in 2007 so they estimated it based on 2007 numbers.

EDIT — MFJ should get $1200 PLUS the amt on the kids, so with one child it would be $1500. Unless you didn’t have enough tax liability to qualify for $1200? I dont have kids but I didn’t think the child tax credit would reduce the amt?

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avatar 95 Anonymous

Flexo: I think you need to do a little more research. I usually get about $1200 dollars back each year. And yes you can get the about the same amount back if your income doesn’t increase and your deductions are the same. I put in that I received a $900 stimilus payment and went back and put in 0. With putting in zero I would receive about 1200 with putting in 900 I will receive 300. Lets do the math the difference is $900. The government is taking the money back.

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avatar 96 Anonymous

Just Another way to describe it…..
Think of it this way. The government decided to give you for example $600 to help your economic situation (which is why they called it economic stimulus). They did not change the tax laws on what you pay on your income. On your 2008 tax forms they are asking whether you received your rebate, and if you didn’t, they will adjust your refund to give that $600 to you because you still have it coming to you.

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avatar 97 Anonymous

Last year(2007 tax seaon)my husband and I filed seperately. He received $600 and I received $600 for the stimulus check. My husband was umployeed all of 2008. So, this tax season I filed for my income and we filed joint, but he has no income. On the recovery rebate line I put $600, because this is what I received. Should I have put his too? I filed through Turbo Tax. I receive where the IRS accepted my return and I was suppose to recieve my refund on Jan 30 he first time, Feb 3 the second time, and now it says Feb 10. Is this delay due to the fact that I only entered my rebate amount and not my husbands?

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avatar 98 Anonymous

hey I’m trying to file my taxes online with FreeTaxUSA which I’ve used in the past and had no problems. when I came to the part about the stimulus it said it estimated that I’d have recieved $600 but I only got $300. I also checked the IRS website and it said I recieved $600 too. I filed single w/ no dependants last year and nothing has changed… Is there something I’m missing or can I put that I got $300? I didn’t owe any taxes when the stimulus was addministered (I got a refund the year before) I just don’t want to screw it up and get introuble but then entering RRC or whateve for the IRS to do it I think they’ll enter $600 but I didn’t get that.

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avatar 99 Anonymous

Last year I filed returns with filing status as Single and recd. $600 as stimulus. Now this year my filing status has changed to Married filing jointly. My spouse is new to US and she didnt filed last year and hence didnt get any stimulus. Is she eligible for recovery rebate credit of $600 this year. Should we put $600 as recovery rebate credit in our filing form 1040 EZ.

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avatar 100 Anonymous

We adopted a baby in 2007. When we completed our 2007 return we had not yet received a social security number for our son so we had to use an adoption tax id. When we got our stimulus check it was only 1200 because they said we had to have filed with a ssn to get the 300 for our son. So I thought we would get the 300 when we filed our 2008 return. But since we our taking the adoption tax credit which makes our line 56 on form 1040 0 we don’t get the 300 on our son. This doesn’t seem right. The Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet allows you to add back in the Child Tax Credit in order to get the stimulus but not the Adoption Tax Credit.
Is there anything we can do?

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avatar 101 Anonymous

my wife and I have 2 kids and in 2008 we had a third child . the calculator for the stimuls estimated that we would receive $1800 but we only received $1200 for mfj and two kids, so should we receive a rebate of $600 or $900. when we filed our taxes the rebate blank was left blank following instructions from irs.

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avatar 102 Anonymous

Will the recovery of the stimulus be a paper check seperate from the income tax check of simply added on?

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avatar 103 Luke Landes

taxdummy: The Recovery Rebate Credit, if you qualify, will be included in your refund (or will reduce your tax bill). It will not be a separate check or direct deposit like the Economic Stimulus Payment last year.

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avatar 104 Anonymous

ok i understand what everyone is saying about this stimulus check. what make me mad is that it cost millions of dollars to mail out the letter saying your getting a check then millions of dollars to send out the check. it was a wast of money then if it was only an “advance on your 2008 tax refund” when they could have just waited and gave you the tax credit on your refund and mail only one check out that they do evey year. for the people like me who pay in a little each year i now owe the amount of the stimulus check back. i know what you said by i am not really paying it back but i pay in every year and i should not have got a stimulus check then and i would not have if i had know how it worked but now i am stuck oweing the 600 back this was a stupid mistake and cant wait to see how is pans out

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avatar 105 Anonymous

Well I for one am in agreement with the majority on this one. I believe it was a mistake on the part of our government, and shame on them for decieving the public so blatantly. I too would not have asked for the payment if I had been told it was actually an advance payment. This is what it used to be called. My question is this; does anyone know of a GOVERNMENT site or phone number where the taxpayers can go to make our opinions known? I mean I obviously am not the only one who is outraged! We should be voicing these concerns to those who have violated our trust. I also want to comment that it is very good of TurboTax and other tax sites to help us with these questions and concerns.

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avatar 106 Anonymous

just a quick question…
I filed my taxes on Turbo Tax online, and it said my refund was going to be $706.

Then it took me to another screen where it said:
Looks Like You’re Getting an Additional Tax Rebate!
Based on your entries, you qualified for the 2008 tax rebate when you filed your 2007 tax return.
Your situation has changed, and you now qualify for an additional rebate of $300.00 when you file your 2008 return

This did not change my refund amount at all. Does the 300 come later, or was that already included in the $706?

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avatar 107 Luke Landes

mbochte: If $706 is the amount that TurboTax explains is your tax refund after completing the entire federal questionnaire, then it includes the extra $300 for the Recovery Rebate Credit.

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avatar 108 Anonymous

Flexo: you appear to be very helpful and i thank you for trying to explain this so many ways. I understand how it works, and i understand that were not getting the money twice, But here’s were i get confused. So if say i didn’t get a recovery rebate credit last year, and this year i qualify for one. Does that money get added to my return? and then i would have to deduct it from my refund next year? Its not my situation at all i am owing because i get back 450 but now pay 150(i wish they had told us exactly how it worked beforehand). But i am still curious about this. So if i qualify for 600$ rebate credit and am expecting back say 1000$ even… According to everything i understand i would only still get 1000$ but they would just claim i got an extra 600 dollars? OR would i get 1600 and then next year that 600 would be deducted from taxes and if i was getting the same amount i would only get 400$ back the following year. Because honestly i Lost all faith in the government in tricking so many people who they know wouldn’t read it. Not to mention how can they claim it as a 900 billion dollar or 400 billion dollar stimulus package if at the end of the year they get it all back? and yes even though its not affecting my refund they are now getting all that money back. So really there hurting more people than there helping because i am going to be very broke owing and getting nothing back, whereas i would have survived without the 600 just fine but loved the idea of extra money. and without thaat 600 i wouldn’t be going into debt now taking out a real loan to cover what i owe. The economy can’t be better with mroe people owing now not knowing the rules!!!!

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avatar 109 Anonymous

I also have a question. My husband and I were seperated through 2007 and filed differently that year. I claimed HOH, and he filed single. We got back together in 2008, and also took custody of our stepdaughter. Our amount recieved is different than what it would’ve been had we been together and claimed married.

Is this going to cause a review at the IRS? I really don’t want to explain the seperation?

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avatar 110 Anonymous

I wanty to respond to a couple of posts relating to what to put in if a taxpayer was married or divorced in 2008. The IRS website gives the instructions as follows:

(my summary)

If you filed as married filing jointly last year and are not doing so this year, each taxpayer is to enter 1/2 of the received amount on the worksheet.

If you did not file a joint return last year and are filing as maried filing jointly, add the amount received to the amount that your spouse received. (see the next case as well).

If you filed as married filing jointly last year and are filing married filing jointly with a different spouse this year, add 1/2 of the amount you received to the amount that your new spouse received.

Or to simplify things a bit, if you filed a joint return last year, the IRS says that each of the marriage partners received half of the payment. If you are filing a joint return this year, the total amount you received is the total of the amounts that each of you received last year.

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avatar 111 Anonymous

I filed my taxes using software purchased, the only way it would take was to put $600 in stimulus recovery sheet. which in turn deducted from refund. Will I receive my $600 back, since now everything is saying I should have put ‘zero’, but the IRS kept kicking back as inc orrect.

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avatar 112 Anonymous

For years, My tax return has remained roughly the same amount…except of course this yr due to that lovely stimulus check. Your tax return should be about the same every year if nothing changes. This is just pure blindsidedness from our government…if it was going to be part of our 2008 tax return than that should have been clarified to us and we should have had the option to take if early or not…all they did was give us OUR MONEY EARLY while continuing to state that if was free money…bull@@@@!

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avatar 113 Anonymous

Head of Household received 300 instead of 600 (+ 300 for each child) I am claiming married this year.

I also am wondering because neither one of claimed my stepdaughter last year. Her mom did, and recieved the check for her. But this year it’s coming into us. I don’t want to do anything wrong, will it be on her mom this year? I verified the amount through IRS site. I got 600, he got 900.

Basically we are getting $600 more in the taxes because of status changing. 300 for HOH changing, and 300 for stepdaughter.
What’s with that comment about all of them going to manual review? That’s everybody in the country that had a baby, and everyone that got laid off that didn’t qualify last year but do now. That’s a LOT of people.

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avatar 114 Anonymous

Maybe this will help explain why most of you still aren’t getting it — due to problems with the software. if you do it by hand it shouldn’t change your refund amt.

here is the link

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avatar 115 Luke Landes

Yes, that MSN article says the same thing I’ve been saying here all year — and last year, when the economic stimulus was announced. Most people won’t get the recovery rebate credit because they received the economic stimulus payment.

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avatar 116 Anonymous

Thank former President Bush for the mess.

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avatar 117 Anonymous

Gosh, some people are so slow and so dense that it is completely mind-boggling. If you are really so sure that all you got was a “loan” and the government just screwed you over, then why don’t you try pulling out your calculators and doing the math using their tax tables?

For all of those who supposedly get exactly the same amount refunded “like clockwork” (despite tax tables are inflation adjusted, and so are personal exemptions and standard deduction values), I always owe anywhere from $900 to $600 every year and this year I only owe $400. Hmm, maybe they’re screwing you to give me your refund?

I have a question similar to Jason above. My girlfriend (23 yrs) was claimed by her dad dependent last year while she was in the final year of college. We don’t know if her dad got a refund for her (they’re not on talking terms) and she will file as an independent this year as she is working and has a job.

Any way to figure out what the correct amount to claim would be? The tax software we’ve looked at is unable to provide much help.

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avatar 118 Anonymous

And people, please please don’t just blindly trust the software! Read the forms that it spits out, and make sure that everything looks OK!

I know, the software is supposed to do all that, but in the end we are responsible for our taxes, the software isn’t.

The Government didn’t advance you something to take away, it just gave out $600 per person EXTRA (in addition to any refund you would get) and chose to give it to you in the middle of the year instead of next year. For some unlucky people who did not get the EXTRA money, they will just get it this year.

It’s free money! FREEEE!!! They don’t want it back. They’re not taking it back!

They just don’t want to give you free money TWICE. Of course, I wish they would, but instead they’re just giving the free money to the banks. No more free money (ha, it’s fiat anyway) left for the common hardworking people.

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avatar 119 Anonymous

I did not apply for an SSN for my wife in 2008 as I was not aware that for the Stimulus check, we need SSN. I cannot get the rebate stimulus credit now as she still does not have the SSN. But I can apply for her work authorization and then get the SSN somewhere in July 2009. What are my options?
1. File the return now, & then go for the amended tax return
2. Apply for an extension, & then file the return in July 2009.
3. Would it possible to claim this in 2010 return?

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avatar 120 Anonymous

See, everyone is blaming Bush for everything that is wrong with this economy. Next they will blame Obama! Look, this economy has been going downhill for a while. And guess what? It started before Bush. I am so sick of everyone blaming the wrong people. You really need to go back further than that.

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avatar 121 Anonymous

i watched my tax preparer do everything on my taxes my refund was over 2000 and when they entered that i got 1500 for the stimulus my refund dropped 1500.00 NOT COOL. This whole thing is very confusing to me and no one else on this base had to put the stimulus in there taxes so i do not think i should have to. If i do not put it in will they later come back and tell me i have to pay them the 1500.00 back just seeing if i should put it in or not. any feedback would help.

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avatar 122 Luke Landes

Rickay: You’re not paying the $1,500 back. If your refund *didn’t* drop by $1,500 when you entered the correct amount on the line for the recovery rebate credit, you’d be getting the stimulus payment *twice,* once last year as a special payment, and once this year included in your tax refund. Since getting the payment *twice* would be unfair and cost a lot of more money to the government, they only want people to get it *once,* as they planned from the start.

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avatar 123 Anonymous

rickay —
you. are. not. listening. OF COURSE it will drop — YOU ALREADY GOT YOUR MONEY. The “default” is that you will get the stimulus with your taxes. Because 95% of people ALREADY got their stimulus money, it HAS to deduct it or you would get it twice.

Yes it’s confusing, I agree. It’s not being taxed, it’s just being noted that you already got it.

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avatar 124 Anonymous

We received A $600.00 stimulus check last year. Now I am filling my income taxes they say no you received $1,200. I used Turbo Tax and was rejected, My bank, believe it or not, does not keep records that go back that far. I have no proof of us only recieving the $600.00, is there some other way to retrieve this information other than the IRS website?


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avatar 125 Anonymous

I forgot to add recovery rebate credit of $300 dollars
simply I didnt know until read this and I have filed electronically already,
would IRS catch this and include extra $300 dollars to the return?
If they dont what do I have to do?
Yes I am eligible for this.

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avatar 126 Anonymous

What is this RRC you mention putting on your form?

I’m on Social Security Disability and up to this year my parents claimed me, however they didn’t claim me this year so I could get the rebate. Should I have filed for the rebate last year even though they claimed me…they didn’t get any $$ for claiming me as I am 36. Do I use form 1040EZ?


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avatar 127 Anonymous

Last year my wife and I only received $600 instead of $1200 as most married people did, will we get the other $600 this year? If so, how?

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avatar 128 Anonymous

Im confused my stimulus last year was 698 but the new calculator says it should have been 900.
I had HR Block do my taxes but they said they dont know if I’ll receive the other 200. So the question is when would I receive the 200? With my regular return or after? I just received my return and it was exactly what HR Block sid it would be and there was not an extra 200??

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avatar 129 Anonymous

I am in the same boat as you. I calculated my tax withholding carefully last year to keep it about the same, either we would get a small amount back or owe a small amount (under $200). Now because of the Tax Credit, I now owe well over $900 to Uncle Sam! I too wished they had left well enough alone! Fortunately for me, I never took it out of the bank, so I am able to just pay it back. . . ..

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avatar 130 Anonymous

Thank you for explaining this issue. I think my unpaid stimulus check just went from $1,800.00 to $1,500.00. Also the IRS apparently paid out millions for ineligible 16 year olds, which no one has complained about.

My wife and I filed our 2007 tax return before 4/15/08, making us eligible for a stimulus payment of $1,800.00. Apparently, because we were filing an amended return for a previous year, the IRS delayed sending our check and did not send our stimulus payment in 2008. In January, 2009, the IRS sent us a letter saying that we were due $1,800.00 and by law they were required to pay it in 2008, but they did not pay it so we “might be able to” to recover it on our return for 2008. Unfortunately, one of my children turned 17 in 2008, so we are now eligible for only $1,500.00.

That is aggravating for us, but technically I do not think that we were cheated. However, even though we were not paid for our ineligible child, the parents of over 4,000,000 other ineligible 16/17 year olds did receive $300.00 per child, meaning $100,000,000 in stimulus payments were overpaid. I think we were all cheated on that.

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avatar 131 Anonymous

This question might have been asked before, but here is my confusion:

I made a mistake in one of my three kids’ SS# in my 2007 return thus I did not get “any” Stimulus money (in addition to owing taxes for ineligible dependent) last year. Owing taxes for 2007 part was later corrected/removed by IRS after I contacted them and corrected the digit in my kid’s SS#, however, it was after the Stimulus deadline, so they could not do anything about Stimulus check and advised me to use 2008 return for recovery.

Now I am trying to use RRC, but since my kid (oddly enough the one I made a mistake in SS#) turned 17 in 2008, I cannot qualify her for $300 that we would have gotten in Stimulus check. In other words, if I hadn’t made a mistake in 2007 return, I would have received $1800 (1200+2*300), but now I can only get $1500 RRS in my 2008 return. I do not see in the IRS instructions that the Stimulus was forward rebate unlike that earlier tax credits when we had to list any credit received in the previous year. And the instructions says that RRC is excatly the same as Stimulus Rebate except that it si based on 2008 conditions instead of 2007 conditions. In most cases, people will be eligible for more than Stimulus, but in my case I will not get this year what I was eligible last year.

So my question is whether anybody has information on RRC being forward rebate? and if anybody will be giving back any money it their 2008 conditions changed to worse, i.e. the stimulus payment was correct for 2007 conditions but created a overpayed credit for 2008 conditions. If not, how come people who got their stimulus based on 2007 can keep that rebate if they should have gotten less based on 2008? Should I kiss that $300 dollars, that I never had. goodbye?

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avatar 132 Anonymous

Okay, uh lets do the math. give us 600.00, take 600 away = they gave us nothing!! You can put the verbage anyway you like it, but math doesn’t lie!! Americans manipulated again… Yeah! What they gave us was an intrest free loan…

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avatar 133 Anonymous

I do not understand mi2jax and everyone else who omplains that the stimulus payment that they recived in 2008 is a loan. You were GIVEN the money, tax free. If you fill out the tax software/worksheet correctly, your Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2008 form will be $ 0.00. Where on the 2008 return are you paying the $600.00 back?

I do not blame mi2jax or anyone else. The IRS went above and beyond in taking a very simple concept and confusing the bejeebers out of it – as usual.

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avatar 134 Anonymous

Chas…..Okay let me understand what your saying ….Before I put the $600 on the line that asked,did you rec’ a stimulus ck and for how much….I was getting close to $1200 back………IRS rejected my e-file because I didn’t put it in the space provided….I filled it in ($600) and hit caculate and now I am rec’ing $297… I said it’s all verbage = garbage…….

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avatar 135 Anonymous

I started filling out my taxes with Turbo Tax and it asks about the Stimulus Payment. I filed married, jointly, so we recieved $1800. Without out putting that amount in I get a refund of $700. If I put in the stimulus, I have to PAY $1100. I don’t understand how that makes sense unless I have to pay back the full $1800.

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avatar 136 Luke Landes

Dan: As has been explained many times above, you’re not paying back the $1,800. When you start your tax return on Turbo Tax, they assume you did *not* receive a stimulus payment, so they’ve built it into your refund. Once you correctly enter that you’ve received $1,800, you no longer qualify for the recovery rebate credit. The $1,800 is still money you wouldn’t have received without the existence of the stimulus payment (aka recovery rebate credit).

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avatar 137 Anonymous

I did not finish going thru every step of my taxes in Turbo Tax so maybe it will fix itself later on in the process. I have very simple taxes, so I have already put in my income and deductions. Even after I answer the question at the beginning, it stll says I owe $1100. So I don’t understand where you think the stimulus will be offset. According to Turbo Tax I owe the gov for the first time in 20 years because of the $1800. Will it somehow change back to a refund of $700?

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avatar 138 Anonymous

In 2008 when I did my 2007 taxes my son was in college, and my wife and me claimed him on our taxes as a dependent since we helped provide him more than half his support and paid a substantial amount towards college tuition DURING 2007 WHICH IS WHAT WAS THE REQUIRED YEAR FOR INFO REQUIRED BY THE IRS. My wife and me therefore received a check for $1200 under the stimulus in May, 2008.

However, in 2008 my son supported himself in grad school, paid for his own room and board elsewhere, therefore this month when we did our 2008 tax return we did NOT claim him as a dependent. He himself never received $300 for himself under the stimulus last year. Isn’t he eligible to claim an additional $300 when he now does his 2008 tax return?

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avatar 139 Anonymous

I already filed my 2008 tax form (1040EZ) . I didnt know the economic stimulus was the same as Recovery Rebate Credit. I still followed the guidelines and it ended up as zero dollars. I do not have dependents, I didnt recieve the stimilus last year, my earn income credit was about 7,000 in 2008. Why didnt I get anything?

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avatar 140 Anonymous

The computer generated tax return is giving you the false impression that the stimulus was a prepayment of your 2008 tax return. Take out pencil and follow the instructions in the book and you will find out that the stimulus did not effect your tax return for 2008.

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avatar 141 Anonymous

I get how Flexo explained it (over and over), and it makes sense. I had the same problem as everyone else here–if I put in “$0” in TurboTax, it shows a refund of a mere $200. If I put in the $1200 we received, we suddenly owe $1000. Totally sucks, but the way Flexo’s explaining it, I get it.

Here is my confusion:
From the MSNBC article that was posted earlier (I had also read it before then), it clearly states:
“We are seeing this and similar problems with many returns,” said Eric Erickson, a spokesman for the IRS. If a software package is telling you that you owe more tax or is shrinking your refund because of the stimulus payment, “what we are telling people to do is just leave the line blank or enter a zero.”

Sounds clear enough to me. So I entered “0” in TurboTax and the IRS rejected it, basically saying I’m trying to claim the credit twice. I’m absolutely not. But if I put it in, I owe money. If I leave it out, I don’t. And Eric Erickson clearly states that if putting that stimulus check in there changes the amount it says you’re getting or owe, LEAVE IT OUT. But TurboTax won’t let you.

Guess that means I wasted $30 e-filing for nothing and I’ll just have to do it all by hand and use the “RRC” method that was mentioned at the beginning. Lame.

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avatar 142 Anonymous

Just to make sure the information was right that is being said about an advance on the refund I took my 2008 income from this years ta return and input it into the 2007 forms to see what the difference on my refund would be making the same amount this year as last year. This year (2008 earnings) my refund is $5,867 whereas last year earning the same amount would have netted me a refund of $4,975. So this year I am actually getting a refund of $892 more. Now my economic stimulus payment was $1,133. So if you add the additional refund together with the economic stimulus payment I am getting almost $2,000 extra back this year. So this tells me the tax rates must have been lowered and tax credits raised to make it where I pay less taxes even though the economic stimulus lowers your end of the year refund, you are still getting more money. You can get prior year forms and instructions from the IRS website if anyone else wants to try this. It is less than half an hour. I was just wondering what other people came up with. Are you getting more or less back than last year?

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avatar 143 Anonymous

I appreciate all of your explanations Flexo and I do undertand them. However, the bottom line is that now I owe the government $1000.00 and if they had kept their stimulus payment I would be getting a $200.00 refund. Of course we spent that money when we received it and now we don’t have the $1000.00 to pay back the government. I wish they would have kept the money. We were fine before we got it and now that we enjoyed the stimulus we have to figure out a way to pay it back. It was definitely not clear that the $1200.00 was an advance on the 2008 tax refund.

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avatar 144 Luke Landes

Baby mama: I don’t think you’re quite understanding the explanations. If there had been no stimulus last year (and no recovery credit this year), and assuming your taxes were completed and calculated correctly, you would still owe $1,000. The stimulus payment, while it was an advance of the recovery rebate credit, was money from the government that is not being repaid.

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avatar 145 Anonymous

Plug your figures into last years return to find out if you are getting more or less money that will give you the answer. Use your 2008 W2s and tax info on the 2007 forms at

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avatar 146 Anonymous

Everything I ever read about the 2008 stimulus checks after it was passed last year made it very clear that the stimulus check was not extra money from the government, but an ADVANCE on your 2008 tax return to encourage spending in 2008.

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avatar 147 Luke Landes

Danielle: Close, but not correct. As I’ve written above, the stimulus check is an advance on a *new tax credit* (the “recovery rebate credit”). So it is “extra money” because this tax credit didn’t exist until the economic stimulus was created in 2008.

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avatar 148 Anonymous

Richard: yes. that 300 credit will be applied to him. I was in the same situation as your son last year- my parents claimed me in 2007 but not 2008, so i didn’t get a stimulus check, but i did get the credit when I filed my tax return for 2008. as long as he doesn’t mark himself as a dependent on his taxes, he should get the credit.

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avatar 149 Anonymous

Ok Flexo, perhaps I do not understand. If I am not repaying the stimulus check we were given and there is a recovery rebate credit for 2008 why do I owe $1000.00 when I add my $1200.00 stimulus check to turbotax and without it I am getting a $200.00 refund? If you received the stimulus check do you not qualify for the recovery rebate credit? Or, is the credit based on your stimulus payment paired with your income?
I have also read some comments that TurboTax has an error in the program. According to your explanations I would say it does not. Do you know if there is an error in the program?
I have also read if you received an overpayment of the stimulus you do not have to pay it back. The turbotax calculations sure make it appear as though I am paying it back.

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avatar 150 Luke Landes

The key is in the answer to one of your questions: If you received an economic stimulus, unless you situation has changed, you do not qualify for the recovery rebate credit. That’s because the economic stimulus payment in 2008 was simply an advance on the recovery rebate credit. The confusion arises when TurboTax assumes you did not receive the economic stimulus payment until you enter your information for the recovery rebate credit. Once you do that, your “running total” decreases by the amount you enter on that line. But that’s correct.

If you’re concerned that TurboTax has an error in the program (it doesn’t, but as I pointed out elsewhere, there are some tax law changes due to the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that have not been activated in the software yet), you can do your taxes by hand and compare.

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avatar 151 Anonymous

Thanks for the quick response Flexo. I will do them by hand just to ensure that Turbotax is not missing something with the changes that are not in effect in their system yet.
I wish I could say I wasn’t disappointed because I still am. We are having a baby in April and the possibility of owing $1000.000 is a difficult thing for us at this time. We will be looking forward to our extra tax deduction for 2009!

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avatar 152 Anonymous

The stimulus was offered last year as an advance to this recovery rebate, like Flexo said. IF you did not claim the stimulus last year, you are entitled to it this year as a recovery rebate credit. On your taxes, it is defaulted to say that you received NO stimulus last year and therefore you now qualify for it. Thats why it shows more of a return. It is acting like you are claiming a stimulus that was already given to you last year. You arent losing anything because of this, you simply didnt pay enough in throughout the year.

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avatar 153 Anonymous

I haven’t seen my situation posted anywhere. I’m a single father with 4 kids. I claim 2 of my children as dependents on my return and my ex-wife claims the other 2 on hers. Its been that way for the last 5 years except for this year. I’m claiming all 4 kids this year on my return. I received $1200 for my economic stimulus payment last year (600 for myself and 600 for 2 of my kids based on how I filed for 2007) . When I enter $1200 as my stimulus payment on the RRC worksheet, it says I’m eligible for $600 RRC for my 2 additional kids I’m now claiming for this year. Is this right? Would that be considered double-dipping?

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avatar 154 Anonymous

The economic stimulus payment was based upon $300 per person or $600 for the working individual and then $300 for each other dependent. This would mean you would be able to get $600 for you and $300 for each of the children for a total of $1800. Since you only received $1200 you are entitled to the additional $600. This does not work like the Earned Income Credit that cuts you off after two children.

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avatar 155 Anonymous

Thanks for your reply edwardsdalejr. I understand but I’m confused because my ex-wife already received $600 in her stimulus check for our 2 youngest children she normally claims and which I’m now claiming this year. In other words, I received $600 for our 2 oldest children last year. She received $600 for our 2 youngest children. I’m now eligible to receive another $600 for our 2 youngest children even though my ex-wife already received that in her stimulus check last year. In total, we will have received $1800 in stimulus payment and recovery rebate credit for our 4 children. Originally I thought my ex-wife would have to pay back that $600 stimulus back if I claimed a recovery rebate credit of $600, but from what I’ve read, you don’t have to pay back any excess credit.

I would imagine this situation would come up with divorced parents who alternate tax years when claiming their children. For example, if the father of 1 child claimed that child in 2007, he would have received $300 in his stimulus check for his child. Since they alternate tax years for claiming their child, the mother would claim their child for 2008 which would make her eligible for a $300 recovery rebate credit this year. In total, they would each receive $300 for the same child. If that is kosher with the IRS, then I’m all for it.

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avatar 156 Anonymous

I have the same issue–alternating tax years between our son. We received the stimulus check last year ($300). Does that mean his mother can also receive the RRC ($300)??

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avatar 157 Anonymous

I believe that is the case. You received the $300 stimulus check last year since you and your husband claimed him for 2007. His mother will claim him for 2008 so when she inputs her stimulus payment in the RRC section when doing her taxes (assuming $600 if she files single), it should calculate a $300 RRC. I guess the only way to know for sure is to ask a professional tax preparer.

avatar 158 Anonymous

Hello all/flexo,

I am already late in my filing just because of stumilus confusion, would appreciate if some one can help quickly

last year due to some error, I didn’t got IRS $1800 stumilus check, and I they had instructed me to mention RRC in this years return.

When I use turbotax, if I enter zero (because I didn’t received the check) I arrive at $500 as my rebates? so is that already taking care of $1800 stumilus or IRS would add $1800 to $500 as a total rebate automatically? or should I enter -$1800 or simply do it manually

Thanks for advice and help


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avatar 159 Anonymous

As i read the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet for Line 70 (page 62) question no. 4 disqualifies all persons from taking the credit, no matter anything else, if either the taxpayer or his/her spouse was not a member of the U.S, Armed Forces at some time during 2008.

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avatar 160 Luke Landes

As nico pointed out earlier: “If you answered yes to question #2 about having a valid social security number, you skip lines 3 and 4. Otherwise, the Armed Forces service comes into play.”

So most people, having a valid social security number, will never get to question 4 about the U.S. Armed Forces.

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avatar 161 Anonymous

I have a great question that may prove that you should do your taxes on time. I filed my 2007 taxes late (January 2009). They owed me so there is no penalty; however, I did not receive a stimulus check. My income spiked in 2008 and it appears I do not qualify for the rebate credit. Is it possible my tardiness on 2007 will eliminate my chance for the stimulus?

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avatar 162 Anonymous

We did not receive any stimulus payments in 2008. Turbo Tax refused to accept our tax forms until we changed our filing to reflect that we received $1200.

In the program it takes you to the federal website, you enter your info and it tells you whether you get the rebate or not.

Now what do we do? Was our rebate check lost in the mail? How do we look into this further?

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avatar 163 Anonymous

Where in Turbo Tax is the section where you supply the Recovery Rebate Credit? This is the Turbo Tax Deluxe. My initial copy on my tax return gave me a $600 rebate credit, but after a review on a second return copy, it doesn’t prompt me for this information? This is confusing.

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avatar 164 Anonymous

Well I was in for a surprise when I thought I was getting a little something back ($80 something), but now the IRS has turned around and said that I owe $500. And, it turns out, it’s because of an incorrect amount on line 70 (regarding the recovery rebate credit). I think I entered all of the info correctly on Turbo Tax, but sure enough, when I changed that number on line 70 to $0, it adds up to what the IRS says I owe them.

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avatar 165 Anonymous

I have a question I filed my taxes and somehow because of the Bush stimulus I now owe 600.00 dollars it seems to me they sure are asking for their money back. I would have received 900.00 dollars back if it wasn’t for that stimulus. So, now what do I do? Any suggestion would be great.

Thank you!

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avatar 166 Anonymous

Okay my question is that my friend had did my taxes and I didn’t want her to send it through cause I didnt think she knew what she was doing and they came back rejected cause she didn’t use my pin or AGI from 2008 and she put me as filing single instead of marriage and she did it through taxact. If i was to do them and resubmit my taxes filing jointly and made changes will the IRS audit me and what if I would go throught turbo instead of resubmitting through taxact will that change things or get me into any trouble

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avatar 167 Anonymous

You would need to file a 1040X to amend your return and reflet your changes on that

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avatar 168 Anonymous

Okay thank you!!

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avatar 169 Anonymous

I am so confused about my fiances tax returns for this year. We went to a good tax service and they said he would only get 7 dollars back, and this is before he paid them. He got a 1200 tax deduction statement from our college, and yet he would only get 7 dollars back? I know he doesn’t own anything to the government because he doesn’t have a house or business. He works and goes to school full time, and makes less than 25,000 dollars a year. Please help, how could this have happened when he got over a thousand back last year?

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avatar 170 Anonymous

Look at his return did he receive the making work pay credit? Does he have any children or does he make enough (maybe too much) to qualify for the Earned Income Credit? Is his withholding set to enough if you claim 0 on your W-4 you will have too much money withheld and receive a larger refund if he claimed more than 0 this would withhold less taxout of his pay and make him have a smaller refund. Try going online to the IRS website and find a company that will file your return for free (even if you have already filed) input all his information (W-2s, etc.) and see what the end result is – you do not file this it is just for demonstration purposes so you can see if anything was missed. Also as far as the $1200 school tax deduction – you have a choice to either itemize or take the standard deduction and unless you have a sizeable income and give usually over $5,000 year or have that amount in allowable expenses it makes no sense to spend time itemizing when the standard deduction is more. The accountant either missed something or he is having less withheld from his pay, that’s the usual two scenarios, if they missed something I would go back and ask for a refund or ask that they fix your return – you will have proof of this once you prepare your return online – but remember do not file this return due to the fact he already filed in order to correct you would need to file a 1040X.

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avatar 171 Anonymous

Originally filed 2008 with $600 tax recovery credit. Now, in 2011, the IRS is rejecting the credit and requiring repayment with interest and penalties. I checked the on-line IRS site prior to filing to ensure I had not been issued the credit already. Since the IRS lost my tax 2008 paperwork (but cashed my check for tax owed), was the credit linked to timely filing? Help, please.

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