Free tax help available for stimulus package rebates

Published 8:38 am Tuesday, February 26, 2008

By Staff
Returns required before payments can be mailed
Staff Writer
Even those seniors who don’t normally file tax returns will need to do so this year to benefit from the recently approved economic stimulus package. The same goes for any American citizen who doesn’t meet the Internal Revenue Service’s minimum requirements for filing tax returns.
Seniors can receive free help with their tax returns at the Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center in Washington.
AARP-trained volunteers help prepare tax returns for the elderly at the center each year. This year, volunteers at the senior center and Beaufort County JobLink are offering help in filing as well, according to Carolyne Everett with the senior center.
Help with taxes is available through the program at the senior center on Mondays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the senior center and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at JobLink. The senior center is located at 310 W. Main St. JobLink is located at 1385 John Small Ave.
In May, the IRS will begin mailing tax rebates to American citizens under the economic stimulus package recently approved by Congress. A provision added to the stimulus package shortly before its passage extended those rebates to seniors, veterans and low-income workers who would not normally be required to file tax returns.
Anyone eligible for a rebate, must file a 2007 tax return and provide a valid Social Security number to receive their check. Most people need only to file a 2007 tax return as they normally would, according to the IRS’ Rebate Hotline. People not normally required to file a return do need to file one for 2007 to benefit from the stimulus package.
More than 130 million American taxpayers are eligible for the stimulus payments, according to the hotline.
Low income workers, or those who receive Social Security benefits or veterans’ disability compensation, pension or survivors benefits received from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007 will be eligible to receive a payment of $300 for an individual or $600 on a joint return if they had at least $3,000 of qualifying income last year. Qualifying income includes Social Security benefits, certain railroad retirement benefits, certain veterans’ benefits, and earned income, according to the IRS’ Web site.
All citizens who receive Social Security benefits or veterans’ disability compensation and were not required to file a tax return last year will receive instructions through the mail from the IRS on how to file a 2007 return in order to receive a rebate, according to the hotline. Information on how to file in order to receive rebates is available at or by calling the IRS’ toll-free Rebate Hotline at 1-866-234-2942.
At least one tax service company is also offering to help file returns for taxpayers not normally required to file. Liberty Tax Service is offering to prepare tax returns at no charge for select taxpayers who have no tax liability.
H&R Block has a minimum $35 service charge for filing tax returns, according to Keith Kidwell, owner of the Washington H and R Block branch.