This tax season, many of us can look forward not only to a tax refund, but also to a one-time tax rebate, ranging from $300 to $1,200, plus $300 for every child.
To get that rebate, you must file a 2007 federal tax return. And if you want that new rebate faster, you should file your 2007 taxes electronically and arrange for direct deposit of your tax refund. Doing so will automatically will also ensure direct deposit of your rebate. The IRS asserts this route is faster and more secure than snail mail.
How long can you expect to wait for your refund if you do it all electronically? As little as 10 days from the time the IRS confirms it got your return. And your rebate? The IRS says the earliest rebates will be distributed in early May.
Though the IRS hasn't said so, it stands to reason that early filers would get their rebates early as well. Conversely, it's a sure bet that if you file for an extension, you'll have to wait beyond that time for your rebate. That's because the IRS must have your 2007 return before it can determine the size of your rebate.
Other rebate facts:
•You must have at least $3,000 in income to get the rebate. At $75,000 in adjusted gross income for individuals and $150,000 for couples filing jointly, the rebate begins to phase out.
•If you're eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax form, you're ineligible for the rebate. For example, college students who earned more than $3,000 can't get the rebate simply by asking their parents to forego claiming them as dependents.
•A number of folks who normally wouldn't file an income tax form, including certain veterans, Social-Security recipients, and recipients of Railroad Retirement benefits, may be eligible for the rebate. But they MUST file a 2007 return in order to get it.
•If you've filed a 2007 return already but haven't included the benefits mentioned above--which might qualify you for a rebate--you can file an amended return, Form 1040X, available at www.irs.gov.
•Beware of e-mail and phone messages on the rebate that purport to be from the IRS. They are most certainly are scams.