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From Aging Solutions Newsletter

Low-income Seniors MUST file a tax return
before October 15th

On June 19th, the IRS that about 5.2 million retirees and disabled veterans who qualify for the economic stimulus rebate have still not filed to claim it. The ONLY way for low-income seniors to receive a tax rebate ($300 for individuals or $600 for couples) is to FILE a tax return before October 15th. That includes Social Security recipients and disabled veterans who don't normally need to file returns.

The only requirement is that the senior or veteran must have earned at least $3,000 in qualifying income during 2007 (an average of only $250 a month). That includes Social Security benefits, tier 1 railroad retirement benefits, VA disability and death benefits, and earned income such as wages, salaries, tips and self-employment.

The IRS has prepared a simplified version of Form 1040A along with special instructions, including a sample form, for most low-income seniors and disabled veterans to use. Most of the sample has been overprinted in grey to indicate the information that doesn't need to be filled in. Only the few remaining white areas must be filled in. There are also 3 special instructions in red.

You can download Form 1040A, the sample form and instructions from the IRS Web site simply by clicking on the blue underlined link. (Note: This is a PDF form. To view it, you must have the free Adobe Reader program installed on your computer. For more information about it, click on Adobe Reader.) On the other hand, if you help an elderly parent or a disabled veteran with their taxes, and you don't want to use the online version, you can use a paper version of 1040A from your local IRS office.

The form 1040A must be filed before October 15, 2008
to receive their economic stimulus payment

Important Notes:

If your parent normally wouldn't need to file a tax return this year, they will NOT have to pay any taxes if the only reason they do file a tax return is to qualify for their tax rebate.

Their tax rebate will NOT be taxed when they file their 2008 federal tax return in 2009, regardless of whether they do file a return or are not required to do so at that time.

Their tax rebate will NOT affect their eligibility for any federal benefits, and it will NOT reduce any benefits they are already receiving.

They do NOT need to hire an account, a CPA, H&R Block or any other tax preparer to file the simplified 1040A. After all, paying a fee of $50 to $100 (perhaps more) will cost your parent a sizable chunk of their rebate. Instead, if you or your parent wants help ...

AARP's Tax-Aide is the nation's largest, free, volunteer run tax counseling and preparation service. For more information, including their locator service, "Find a Tax-Aide Site Near You," visit AARP's Tax-Aide website. Or, call AARP's Tax-Aide toll-free at 1-888-227-7669.

The IRS's free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program has locations in many shopping malls, schools, libraries and other community and neighborhood centers. For more information, call toll-free at 1-800-829-1040.
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