Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

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Opting out of stimulus checks?

Posted by taxguru on May 6, 2008

Q:

Subject:  Blog related question

Hi Kerry,
Even before your first blog post about the "stimulus checks", I had learned what a misleading routine that whole thing is.
I've been wondering - is there any way to file a 2007 1040 on time (before 10/15/08 w extensions) and still AVOID being issued one of these checks? 
If they issue one, even if a person doesn't cash it - won't they still say you owe that amount when you file for 2008? 

And it seems like it might even be possible that they would charge interest on the amounts issued as stimulus checks now. If so, you would end up paying back even more next year… ?

Thanks for all the info and insights you offer in your blog.

 

A:

I hadn’t heard of any way to opt out of the stimulus checks other than to file your 1040 after 10/15/08.  I just spent some more time browsing the IRS website pages related to these payments and couldn’t see any mention of how to have them hold the checks if the 1040 is in by 10/15/08.

In another example of how disorganized this program is, I saw one page where they claim that the stimulus checks will not reduce the 2008 refunds or increase the tax due, while another page says exactly the opposite, and that those who don’t receive stimulus checks because they file their 2007 1040s after 10/15/08 will receive credit for it on their 2008 1040s.

I have to believe the latter to be more accurate because this whole project is just like a similar one we had a few years back, where IRS sent out advance checks for one of Bush’s tax cuts and then we had a mess accounting for it on the 1040s for that year because many clients who didn’t have good records couldn’t recall whether or not they had received their advance checks.  That resulted in IRS having to change the bottom lines on several 1040s.  I sense that we will be in for similar adjustments with the 2008 1040s.

Giving IRS the benefit of the doubt, I am hoping that if someone were to end up being underpaid for their 2008 taxes, the 2210 penalty on the amount of the stimulus checks would be waived if requested.  They probably won’t be as generous with interest charges, given their track record on this matter.

I’m glad you are reading my blogs.  I wish more clients would so that I could avoid having to repeat myself so often.

Kerry

 

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