Remember those economic-stimulus checks the government was handing out this year? Many taxpayers didn't qualify for the full amount -- or for any payment at all -- because their 2007 income exceeded a certain threshold.
But many people who lost their jobs this year, or whose incomes fell for some other reason, will get a second chance next year, thanks to a little-noticed tax-law twist.
Like many other people, Colleen Kilbreath of Westminster, Colo., thought eligibility for the program was based solely on what she had reported on her tax return for 2007 -- and assumed she wouldn't get anything because her income for that year was too high. Ms. Kilbreath, a construction-project manager, was laid off in June "and could really use the assistance," she wrote in a recent email.
For 2008, she says, her adjusted gross income will be about $50,000, well below the law's threshold, which means she should qualify for a recovery rebate credit when she files her 2008 return next year. "I did not know" that the law worked that way, she says. "I'm sure there are a ton of us out there that are in the dark."
Under the economic-stimulus law, which was enacted in February, eligibility for this tax break is based on your income and other factors, such as family size, as reported on your federal income-tax return for either 2007 or 2008, says Kerry Freeman, EA and owner of Freeman Income Tax Service.