Stimulus checks going unclaimed

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Over 1,300 Barry County residents could receive some extra money from the government this summer if they apply for a stimulus check.

This week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched a campaign to reach retirees and disabled veterans who might be missing out on economic stimulus payments. According to the IRS, these individuals number more than 5.4 million nationwide.

Congressman Roy Blunt is also promoting the issue, urging his constituents to make sure they file for any money that might be coming to them through the economic stimulus program. In all, there are 16,500 citizens in Blunt's congressional district, which encompasses southwest Missouri, who are eligible for a stimulus check but have not applied. In Barry County, that number is estimated at 1,324.

Two out of three eligible persons who have not filed a return are over the age of 65, and all have annual incomes below $10,800.

Under the stimulus package approved by Congress earlier this year, individuals who have no tax liability and no tax filing requirement can expect a tax rebate check for at least $300 and couples who file jointly can receive a check for at least $600. To be eligible, an individual must make at least $3,000 a year.

"Many seniors and disabled veterans aren't required to file taxes each April because of their annual income, but they still might qualify for a stimulus check from the federal government if they mail a simple form," said Blunt.

Even though the April 15 tax deadline has passed, it is not too late to file a 2007 tax return to receive these payments. People not otherwise required to file an income tax return should file Form 1040A with basic information to receive their stimulus check.

The IRS will be sending letters to eligible taxpayers explaining stimulus payment eligibility and how to claim their payments. The letter will include a sample tax form and an actual tax form that people can complete and mail to the IRS.

The 1040A-3 forms can be obtained at Citizens have until Oct. 15 to submit their tax forms.

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