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Uncle Sam charges economy with checks

By Allie Byrd
University of Georgia

The U.S. government is giving money away this summer. But to be eligible for it, people must file a 2007 tax return.

As part of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, the U.S. government plans to return money to U.S. citizens in an effort to charge the country’s economy, which is tittering on the verge of recession.

Eligible people will receive up to $600. Parents will get $300 per child under 17 years old.

“The stimulus is targeted to a broad number of consumers, so there are a lot of people who are eligible for at least some portion of the stimulus payment,” said Michael Rupured, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension consumer economics specialist. “For most people, all you need to do is file your 2007 income taxes.”

You must have a valid Social Security number to receive a check, he said.

People who are not normally required to file a federal tax return will not receive a stimulus payment unless they take the extra step and file, Rupured said.

“As long as they have more than $3,000 in income they’ll need to file to make sure they get a payment,” he said.

Some people are not eligible, he said. If you have less than $3,000 in income or if you have income above a certain level, you are not eligible.

The Internal Revenue Service Web site www.irs.gov has a calculator to determine how much you will receive. You will need your 2007 federal income tax return to use it. The payment schedule is there, too.

(Allie Byrd is a writer with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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