Stimulus checks go unclaimed

Published 2:42 am Monday, August 4, 2008

By Staff
The Internal Revenue Service has identified more than 5 million Americans - mostly low-income seniors, disabled veterans and others with disabilities - who have not yet claimed their economic stimulus checks. These unclaimed payments total more than $33 million.
In fact, more than 112,000 Alabamians have yet to file a 2007 tax return resulting in more than $33 million in unclaimed economic stimulus payments.
Mobile is among the top 100 cities nationwide with 6,725 unclaimed payments. Additionally, Mobile and Baldwin counties are among the top 200 counties nationwide with unclaimed payments. There are 10,103 unclaimed payments in Mobile County worth more than $3 million, and more than $1 million remains unclaimed in Baldwin County.
As you know, Congress passed an economic stimulus package earlier this year in response to the national economic downturn. Qualifying taxpayers have been eligible to receive up to $600 for individuals or up to $1,200 for married couples.
According to the IRS, the actual amount depends on the information contained on your tax return. Eligible individuals will receive between $300 and $600. Couples who are eligible and file a joint return will receive a total of between $600 and $1,200. Those with children will get an additional $300 for each qualifying child.
The payments are automatically processed when you file your annual tax form. However, many of the people who have not yet claimed their payments are folks who are not required to file a tax return because their income is too low or not taxable.
You may still be eligible for the stimulus check if you receive at least $3,000 in qualifying income of Social Security, Veterans Affairs or Railroad Retirement benefits. You must have a Social Security number and not be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return.
Those eligible to receive an economic stimulus payment have until Oct. 15 to file their tax return in order to receive their payment this year.
The IRS is currently sending a second notice to those who may be eligible for the payment but have not yet sent in the necessary paperwork needed to receive their check.
The notice from the IRS will include the Form 1040A as well as instructions on completing the form.
If you have not yet received your stimulus payment and believe you are eligible or if you need assistance in completing your form, visit www.irs.gov or call 800-829-1040.
If you miss the October 15 deadline and do not file a tax return to obtain your stimulus payment, you may still receive your payment by filing a 2008 tax return next spring. However, your stimulus payment will then be based on your 2008 qualifying income.
Jo Bonner is a member of the House of Representatives. He may be reached at www.bonner.house.gov.