IRS begins direct deposit of stimulus payments

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service has begun distributing economic stimulus payments to taxpayers who opted for direct deposit of refunds and payments from the IRS.

The IRS said some taxpayers may already see the payments in their deposit accounts. The agency also said it expects to begin mailing checks to taxpayers who did not select the Direct Deposit option as soon as May 9, a week ahead of the posted schedule. The first payments are going to taxpayers who filed returns in time to be processed by April 15. Stilimulus payments will be delayed for taxpayers who filed later.

Stimulus payments are being made by direct deposit to people who choose to receive their 2007 income tax refunds through direct deposit. All others will receive their economic stimulus payments in the form of a paper check.

People who chose direct deposit will receive their economic stimulus payments the quickest," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. "We know there are many people who are eligible for an economic stimulus payment who have not filed a tax return. If you think you may be eligible, even if you don't normally file a tax return, please check it out. And, use direct deposit to get your payment faster."

Stimulus payments will be sent out in the order of the last two digits of the Social Security number used on the tax return.

Because the IRS will use the Social Security number to determine when checks are mailed, taxpayers may receive their checks at different times than their neighbors or other family members. On a jointly filed return, the first Social Security number listed will determine the mail-out time.

Even people who normally do not have a filing requirement may be eligible for the stimulus payment. People who have no filing requirement must have at least $3,000 in qualifying income. Qualifying income includes any combination of earned income, nontaxable combat pay they elect to include in earned income and certain payments from Social Security, Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement.

People with at least $3,000 in qualifying income may qualify for an economic stimulus payment of $300 ($600 for married couples) plus the $300 per qualifying child payment. However, they must file a 2007 income tax return by Oct. 15 , 2008, to receive a stimulus payment. They can use the simple Form 1040A and provide basic information. Form 1040A is available on IRS.gov, the official IRS Web site.

The payment schedule announced earlier this year is for people who filed early enough to have their tax returns processed by April 15. People who did not submit a return in time for it to be processed by April 15 may see their stimulus payments later than the scheduled dates.

Below are the schedules for economic stimulus payments related to tax returns processed by April 15, 2008:

Stimulus Payment Schedule for Tax Returns
Received and Processed by April 15

Direct Deposit Payments

If the last two digits of your Social Security number are:

Your economic stimulus payment deposit should be sent to your bank account by:

00 - 20

May 2

21 - 75

May 9

76 - 99

May 16

Paper Check

If the last two digits of your Social Security number are:

Your check should be in the mail by:

00 - 09

May 16

10 - 18

May 23

19 - 25

May 30

26 - 38

June 6

39 - 51

June 13

52 - 63

June 20

64 - 75

June 27

76 - 87

July 4

88 - 99

July 11

A small percentage of tax returns will require additional time to process and to compute a stimulus payment amount. For these returns, stimulus payments may not be issued in accordance with the schedule above, even if the tax return was processed by April 15.

All or part of an economic stimulus payment may be applied to back taxes or certain other debts of the taxpayer, such as delinquent child support and student loans. In such cases, the IRS will send a letter to the taxpayer explaining the offset.

To accommodate people whose tax returns are processed after April 15, the IRS will continue sending weekly payments. People who file tax returns after April 15 and receive a refund can expect to receive their economic stimulus payments in about two weeks after receiving their tax refunds, but not before the date they would have received their payment if the return had been processed by April 15. To ensure taxpayers receive their stimulus payment this year, they must file a tax return by Oct. 15.

Two bureaus of the Treasury Department are involved in making the payments. The IRS will calculate the amount of each economic stimulus payment based on the tax year 2007 income tax returns it receives. The IRS will then forward the information to the Financial Management Service (FMS), which is the bureau of the Treasury Department that makes federal payments such as Social Security benefits, federal income tax refunds and, now, economic stimulus payments.