Don't have to file? This year, it might be worth it

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By The Staff

One-hundred forty-three Los Alamos taxpayers haven’t filed and therefore have not received their stimulus payments of $300, $600, $1,200 or more.

Statewide, the IRS reports about 35,820 people – about 27 percent of retirees and disabled veterans  – who qualify for the economic stimulus payment but have not yet filed to claim.

Most people only need to file a tax return as they normally do. The IRS will calculate eligibility and the payment amount. However, many retirees and veterans do not normally file a tax return because their benefits are not taxable. This year, they must file in order to receive an economic stimulus payment.

Later this summer, the agency will send them a special letter that explains stimulus payment eligibility and how to claim it. The letter will include a sample tax form and an actual tax form that people can complete and mail to the IRS. This will be the second special mailing to reach those individuals.

The IRS also is working with members of Congress, state and local officials and national partners such as AARP, the National Council on Aging, United Way of America, National Disability Institute and others to continue its extensive outreach efforts to the retiree and veterans’ communities through the summer.

The IRS will help coordinate face-to-face free tax preparation sessions with the help of local community partners at locations where these individuals live, work and socialize such as senior housing, Veterans Affairs hospitals and assisted living facilities.

Nationwide, the IRS has accounted for 74 percent of Social Security and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries out of about 20 million initially identified as being potential stimulus recipients.

That leaves about all 5.2 million who could have money in the bank, all of whom must file a tax return before Oct. 15 this year to receive their economic stimulus payments.

For all taxpayers, the IRS has issued 76.5 million payments worth $63.8 billion based on 2007 tax returns processed so far. The agency expects to issue 124 million payments to Americans by year’s end.

Eligible individuals are receiving up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples filing joint returns) plus $300 for eligible children younger than 17.

The agency has more than 400 local Taxpayer Assistance Centers operating normal business hours Monday through Friday. These centers can provide assistance to retirees and veterans trying to receive their payments. A list for addresses and office hours can be found at “Contact My Local IRS Office” at www.irs.gov.

People not otherwise required to file an income tax return should file Form 1040A with basic information to ensure they receive the economic stimulus payment. This information includes name, address, dependents, amount of qualifying income (which must be $3,000 or more), direct deposit information and signatures. Forms 1040A and instructions are available at www.irs.gov.

Although payments can be made by check, the IRS urges people to use direct deposit to ensure a speedy delivery.

For assistance, call 800-829-1040 from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday. To find out if you qualify for a stimulus payment, visit www.irs.gov.