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2008 Economic Stimulus Package Explained

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The Senate and the House have both passed a stimulus package designed to give taxpayers rebates totaling almost $170 billion. The government’s hope is that taxpayers will go out and spend this money to spur along the economy.

How much stimulus money will I receive?

Depending on your income level, you may see up to $600 per person, with an additional $300 for each eligible child younger than 17. The rebate starts out at $300 per person, but rises to $600 per person to match the taxes you will pay based on your 2007 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI).

Your AGI is generally lower than your salary, and is based on your earnings after tax deductions such as 401(k) and Traditional IRA investments and other qualified deductions. However, if you earn above a set limit, you may receive less than $600. The tax rebate decreases by $50 for every $1,000 earned above $75,000.

How much stimulus money for dependents

If you are a dependent for someone else’s taxes, you will not receive a rebate even if you earned enough money to qualify for the rebate. If you are over 17 and are a dependent, neither you or your parents will receive a rebate. However, if no one can claim you as a dependent in 2008, you may still receive the rebate in 2009.

The stimulus tax rebate actually is a rebate against your 2008 taxes

This stimulus is a tax rebate against your 2008 taxes, even though they have not yet been filed. Even though this rebate is actually for your 2008 taxes, it will be based upon your 2007 AGI. When you file your 2008 taxes in early 2009, the calculation will be run again. If you should have received a larger rebate, the treasury will send you another check to make up the difference. This would apply to people who had children during 2008, or those whose 2007 AGI was above $75,000, but dropped below that level in 2008. If you income rises and you would have received a lower rebate, you get to keep the difference. At least they won’t ask for a refund! In either case, you do not have to pay back any of this rebate.

When will I receive my stimulus rebate check?

Checks will be mailed beginning in May, and will take approximately 10 weeks to complete. In all likelihood, you will see your check between May and early July. This assumes you file by the April 15th deadline. Those who file extensions will see their returns at a later date. Whatever you do, just don’t spend it before you get it!

For more information, check out the Economic Stimulus Package Frequently Asked Questions.

Update: The economic stimulus checks will be sent out a week early.


Published or updated April 7, 2011.
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