Text Script of Press Briefing February 22, 2008 Economic Stimulus Payments
Economic Stimulus Payments Opening Remarks - IRS Acting Commissioner Linda Stiff
Thanks for joining us today.
As you all know, Congress recently passed an economic growth package that would provide stimulus payments to more than 130 million households.
I want to take a few minutes today to update you on where the IRS stands on getting these stimulus payments ready for the nation. I also want to offer some advice for people to make sure they get their stimulus payments – and get them quickly.
The first checks will begin arriving in bank accounts and mailboxes in early May. Checks will continue to be mailed through the spring and summer. We’ll have more information for you in the next week or so on the specific time frames people can expect to receive their stimulus payment.
But as millions of Americans work on their taxes in the coming days, we have a couple of easy ways for them to make sure they get their stimulus payment.
The most important thing for people to do is file their tax return by April 15. To receive the stimulus payments, the majority of American taxpayers don’t need to do anything more than file a 2007 tax return. The IRS will then do all the rest, including determining eligibility and payment amounts. There is no need to call the IRS or file any other form.
But another important step for people to take is to use direct deposit when they file their tax return. Direct deposit – especially combined with filing electronically – is the fastest way to get your tax refund.
This year, direct deposit is even more important. Using direct deposit means you will get your stimulus payment much faster than waiting for the paper check to come in the mailbox. We are putting direct deposits at the front of the line when it comes to sending out money in May.
For taxpayers, this means it will shave weeks, a month or even more off the time it takes to get their money.
There are some basic tips to keep in mind for direct deposit:
First, make sure you put the correct routing number and account number on your tax form. These are the numbers you find on the bottom of your check. Double check them to make sure you get them right.
Even if you owe taxes, it’s still a good idea to go ahead and put down your direct deposit information. The only thing we’ll use this information for is to put the stimulus payment directly into your bank account.
All of this information is available on our web site at IRS.gov. It has the latest news, answers to frequently asked questions and will soon even have a calculator to help taxpayers confirm the size of their payments.
We’ve updated IRS.gov today with more information on direct deposit and other information on economic stimulus payments. There are even examples there to show people how much they can expect to receive when it’s time for the payments to begin.
Payments will range from $300 to $600 for individuals and $600 to $1,200 for joint filers. Taxpayers will also receive $300 for each qualifying child.
The vast majority of taxpayers won’t need to do a thing other than file their tax return.
But we have a special message for some low-income workers and some recipients of Social Security and veterans benefits. Many of these people don’t normally need to file a tax return, but this year they will need to file a tax return to get an economic stimulus check.
These are the types of groups we’re talking about:
recipients of Social Security benefits
recipients of Railroad Retirement benefits
recipients certain pension, disability or death benefits paid by Veterans Affairs
People in these groups should take a few minutes on this. They should see if they have enough to reach the $3,000 qualified income requirement. If you reach $3,000 and file a tax return, you get a check.
The IRS is working with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that their beneficiaries understand the filing requirement and how to report their benefits on IRS Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
The IRS will also be helping taxpayers at thousands of volunteer tax preparation sites across the country and partnering with groups such as AARP and others to make sure that taxpayers receive these payments as the Administration and Congress intended.
We are also finalizing plans for a special mailing to recipients of Social Security and veterans’ benefits who don’t normally file a tax return. This mailing will include special information to help them file a 1040A tax return. The 1040A is the easiest way for people in this group to file.
IRS.gov has important information on these special filing requirements. In addition, we have sample forms to show people how to fill out a 1040A. And we’ve also included on IRS.gov some special flyers for use by community organizations, church group, retirement centers and other places to help people the basic information they need to get a stimulus payment.
Thank you, and I’ll be happy to take your questions.
Audio File: 2008 Economic Stimulus Payments - IRS Acting Commissioner Linda Stiff - 02/22/08, 6 minutes long. The audio file will open in Windows Player, and you will be able to pause, fast forward, rewind, mute, and control the volume from the interactive player.
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