The Internal Revenue Service may want to give you money.
Nearly 55,000 Connecticut residents, including about 1,000 in Bristol, are running out of time to claim the $300-a-person economic stimulus checks that the federal government agreed to hand out beginning last spring.
“Everybody ought to take advantage of this,” U.S. Rep. John Larson, an East Hartford Democrat whose 1st District includes Bristol, said during a Monday forum on the issue at City Hall.
With few exceptions, those who filed a federal tax form this year received their checks, but millions of Americans – mostly seniors, veterans and those with low income - who don’t normally file only have until Oct. 15 to fill in the simple paperwork and send it in.
Ron Peruzzi, a senior tax consultant for the IRS in Hartford, said that anyone with a Social Security number and enough qualifying income – generally $3,000 – can claim a check by filling in a tax form online or on paper.
“Filling out the form is very simple,” Peruzzi said.
People don’t have to earn a paycheck to get the money, officials said. It can come from Social Security, railroad retirement, veterans benefits or other sources, they said.
Even if proof of that income, from last year’s 1099 form, isn’t handy, people can fill in the form with a reasonable estimate of their income, Peruzzi said.
Larson called on veterans and seniors who may have ignored letters telling them to file “to hand it in now” and get their money.
Most of those who haven’t filed are living alone or they are married. Married couples will get $600 under the plan.
The idea of the stimulus payments was to encourage about 124 million households to spend a little extra to give the economy a jump start this summer.
Most people who were eligible got their money automatically because they had filed tax forms, but more than 4 million who could get checks have yet to ask, according to the IRS.
The stimulus payments are not counted as taxable income so people won’t have to pay income taxes on the money they receive.
Those who file online, which can be done for free through the irs.gov website, and also provide a bank account number may have their money in less than two weeks, Peruzzi said.
Do I qualify for the cash?
You're eligible if you have a valid Social Security number, can't be claimed as a dependent on a tax return and have either an income tax liability or "qualifying income" of at least $3,000. Qualifying income includes any combination of earned income and certain benefits from Social Security, Veterans Affairs or Railroad Retirement.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does not count as qualifying income for the stimulus payment.
High income earners might be ineligible.
How do I get the money?
Just file a federal tax return for 2007 by Oct. 15, even if you normally don't have to because your income usually doesn't meet the filing threshhold. Those who normally don't have to file a tax return and can use the short form for the stimulus payment can check out tax package 1040A-3, which has instructions, a sample Form 1040A and a blank Form 1040A — everything needed to file the tax form.
Forms will be available at the Beals Senior-Community Center and the city’s tax office, Mayor Art Ward said. Help filing online may be available from the city’s Social Services office and at the senior center.
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