IRS Offers Tips to Avoid Recovery Rebate Credit Confusion

In response to errors showing up on early tax filings, the Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers and tax preparers to make sure they properly determine eligibility for the recovery rebate credit before they file their 2008 federal tax returns.

Some individuals who did not get the economic stimulus payment, and a smaller number of those who did, may be eligible for the recovery rebate credit. However, most taxpayers who received the economic stimulus payment last year will not qualify for the recovery rebate credit on their 2008 federal income tax return.

An early sampling of tax returns shows about 15 percent have errors involving the recovery rebate credit. Some tax returns erroneously claim the credit, do not claim the proper amount of recovery rebate credit or mistakenly enter the amount of the stimulus payment they received on the recovery rebate credit line.

To avoid delays in tax refunds, it is critical that taxpayers know the correct amount of the stimulus payment they received last year, if any, to help determine whether they qualify for the recovery rebate credit now.

The amount of the stimulus payment will not be entered directly on the tax return. For people using a paper tax return, the stimulus payment amount will be required when completing a related worksheet. For people using tax software, the stimulus payment amount will be needed as part of the return preparation process.

How to Get the Recovery Rebate Credit Right

The IRS sent taxpayers nearly 119 million stimulus payments last year. There are three ways individuals can find out how much they received:

  • Check the amount listed on Notice 1378, which the IRS mailed last year to individuals who received the economic stimulus payment.
  • Go to the How Much Was My Stimulus Payment? tool that is available on the IRS Web site, IRS.gov. This can provide the correct amount in a matter of a few seconds.
  • Individuals can call the IRS at 1-866-234-2942. After a brief recorded announcement they can select option one to find out the amount of their economic stimulus payment. They will need to provide their filing status, Social Security Number and number of exemptions.
With the amount of last year

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