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7 Steps to Getting Your Stimulus Check Sooner

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mar18homespunweb.jpgBy Marshall Loeb

RISMEDIA, March 18, 2008-(MCT)-The IRS will begin issuing rebate payments in May and will continue to issue them through the end of the year. Although there is little you can do to affect the size of your stimulus check, there are steps you can take to make sure you receive it as soon as possible.

Grant Thornton LLP, a global accounting, tax, and business advisory organization, gives these suggestions on how you can make it easier for the IRS to speed the review of your payment:

- First step. File your tax return as soon as you can. The IRS won’t calculate and process your rebate until it has the return. So the earlier you send in your return, the sooner the IRS can get to your rebate check. By the same token, avoid extensions because returns filed on extension are likely to have to wait in line behind those that are filed on time.
- Next step. Make it easier on your preparer. If you use a tax preparer, make sure he or she receives your complete information as soon as possible, so as not to delay the preparation of your return.
- Make sure your return is correct. If you file an erroneous return, you may lose your place in line while the return is corrected and you confirm the corrections. In particular, be careful with items that are central to the computation and processing of the rebate payment, such as your Social Security number.
- File electronically. It is easier for the IRS to process an electronic return. The agency has adopted a special procedure to allow individuals who qualify for rebates, but who do not have adjusted gross income, to report $1 of AGI in order to activate the electronic return process.
- Provide direct deposit information. If you use direct deposit for your income tax refund, the IRS will directly deposit the rebate payment into the same account. This can accelerate the receipt of the payment. Make sure that the account is valid, and that it remains open and available to receive the rebate payment.
- Do not ask for a split deposit. The IRS can only handle one account per rebate payment. If you ask for the direct deposit of your income tax refund to be split among several accounts, the IRS will not be able to directly deposit your rebate and will have to send you a check.
- Let the IRS know where to find you. If you move, make sure you file Form 8852 with the IRS to let them know your new habitat. If they issue your rebate as a paper check for any reason, make sure they know where to send it.

The rebate payment is a special credit that is expected to be paid outside of the normal calculation of income tax. It does not reduce the amount of refund a taxpayer is otherwise eligible for, cannot be counted as a payment of estimated taxes and will not be treated as taxable income in any year.

© 2008, MarketWatch.com Inc.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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