Ask Money

The Tax Rebate, Again

Chris Farrell Feb 19, 2008

Question: My parents are receiving social security and do not file income tax. Do they have to file an income tax return for 2007 in order to receive the tax rebate? Thank you. Chan

Answer: The simple answer is, yes. To get that rebate check you need to file a tax return. That includes people who normally don’t file, such as retirees like your parents and disabled veterans. The reason is that the rebate amount (as well as the phase-outs) are calculated off 2007 returns.

By the way, in the 2008 tax year the IRS will refigure your rebate based on your 2008 tax return. It’s a heads you win, tails you win calculation. You get to keep the money without penalty if it turns out the government gave you a too big a rebate check. But if your rebate check was too small the IRS will send you the difference.

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