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Tax Rebate Calculator Updated (and Blog Roundup)

This article was written by in Taxes. 16 comments.


I’ve updated the economic stimulus tax rebate calculator. The old version, taken from PBS Newshour, did not take into account changes included by the Congress before passing the bill. The complete details of the economic stimulus package are provided at the Library of Congress. Take a look at the new calculator to find out how much you’ll receive from the U.S. government this summer, if anything.

Here are some articles from around the blogosphere:

Countrywide is suspending equity lines of credit, and Nina from Queercents is a victim. Her house’s value declined 20%, and her lender has decided to disallow draws on the credit line. Did you know that the banks can do this? Is it reasonable to assume borrowers know every loophole that banks have available?

My Experiment: Asking for a Better Deal. Kimberly from Alpha Consumer has found that sometimes, all it takes is a question to save money. Asking politely for a discount when booking a room at a hotel, Kimberly was offered a lower rate on the spot. I’ve had good experiences with this technique as well, particularly with hotels. When getting a discount is as easy as Kimberly describes, I get the impression that I might have been able to get more out of the deal.

Major 1099 Forms and Where to Use Them. Jim provides an overview of the 1099 tax form which describes non-employee income. I’ve received 1099-INTs for my interest-bearing savings accounts, 1099-DIVs for my investments, 1099-Bs for my employee stock purchase plan sales, and 1099-MISCs for income in return for work as I do as a consultant and blogger outside my day job. I haven’t received any 1099-SSAs or 1099-Rs. If you don’t know what they are, take a look at Jim’s list.

Updated May 8, 2008 and originally published February 13, 2008. 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, also known as Flexo, 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 him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar thomas

same money, different calculator.

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avatar Saving Freak

great tool. I also got the same results.

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avatar budgetsaresexy

Awesome tool indeed, thank you good sir!

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avatar jim

Thanks for the link man!

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avatar ria

i took a look at the signed legislation and i’m still puzzled with a few things:

1. there are two prongs for determining a rebate-eligible “taxpayer” listed under SPECIAL RULE (2). the first is simply whether one has a “net income tax liability” as defined in the section. the second is whether “gross income” is greater than the standard deduction plus the exemption amount (or twice the exemption for joint returns). but what is this “gross income” (a term not defined in this section). did congress mean “adjusted gross income”? this is not entirely clear since elsewhere the revisions to the tax code refer explicitly to AGI. since either prong in this special rule is enough to establish a rebate-eligible “taxpayer” how did you deal with this second test in your rebate calculator, which only asks users to input AGI?

2. are taxable scholarships and fellowships “qualifying income” under the rebate rules? i’ve been racking my brains trying to figure this out.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,380 (Platinum)

Two figures of income are required to determine eligibility. Here is the definition from the calculator which is based on the understanding of the special rule:

Earned income is all the taxable and nontaxable income you get from work. Include wages, salaries, tips, self-employment income, deferred compensation contributions to retirement plans, salary reductions in a cafeteria benefit plan, dependent care benefits, adoption benefits, educational assistance benefits, union strike benefits, statutory employee income, disability payments from an employer disability plan if you are under retirement age, meals and lodging that are for the convenience of your employer or due to military service and the clergy housing allowance if included on Schedule SE. Also include include earned income from a partnership or a farm. Do not include interest, dividends, pensions, annuities, Social Security, railroad retirement benefits, alimony, child support, jury duty pay, worker’s compensation, veteran’s benefits, welfare benefits, workfare payments, penal inmate earnings, unemployment compensation or disability payments after you reach retirement age or if you paid premiums for the disability insurance.

This income, plus social security benefits and disability benefits in special cases (defined in the calculator, scroll down), if greater than $3,000, qualifies you for the rebate. Scholarships and fellowships are included in the “educational assistance benefits” mentioned above, so yes, they are considered for the purpose of the “earned income” in the calculator.

Secondly, your *AGI* is checked to see if it’s over the limit of $150,000 for married-filing-jointly or $75,000 for other. If it’s over the limit, the rebate is reduced by 5% of the overage, eventually reducing the rebate to zero.

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avatar ria

thanks for the reply! your take on the meaning of “educational assistance benefits” seems reasonable, though the terminology is ambiguous. what else would we expect?

i’m afraid i’m still hazy on the “gross income” issue. is “gross income” (in the special rule) different from “adjusted gross income” in the legislation? actually, this is a moot point for me now that the felloship issue is cleared up, but i’m still curious.

thanks again.

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avatar keri

I am so confused as to whether my husband and I are getting 600 or 1200 for a rebate. We have 1,824 in line 44 of 1040 for owed tax, but after child tax credits and retirementr savings contributions credit it crosses it out to 0. We got back all that was withheld from my husband’s pay checks during the year 2007. Could someone explain to me I don’t know what the if you paid taxes part means. We owed taxes yes, but after credits no. We didn’t have to pay we got a return. I was told we would qualify for 1800 because we have 2 kids, but I am thinking mabey it is only 1200. I don’t know.

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