IRS Encourages Organizations on Outreach to Low-Income Workers

Style News Wire | 3/19/2008, 9:11 p.m.
As part of a national outreach effort, the Internal Revenue Service encouraged nonprofits, charities and other community groups to reach ...

Workers who normally do not file a tax return because their income is too low but who have at least $3,000 in wages, tips or salary or other qualifying income may be eligible for an economic stimulus payment. However, they must file a 2007 income tax return in order to receive a payment.

The IRS encouraged government and nongovernmental organizations, especially churches and charities that works with low-income Americans to help spread the word to individuals and families. Because it lacks name and address information for many low-wage workers, the IRS is unable to contact everyone who may be eligible.

“Many people who don’t normally file a tax return may not realize they need to take an extra step this year to receive an economic stimulus payment,” said Acting IRS Commissioner Linda E. Stiff. “We are encouraging groups across the country to help us get out the word that low-income workers and others need to file a tax return in order to receive a stimulus payment.”

“Some low-income taxpayers may never have filed a tax return before yet qualify for an economic stimulus payment,” added National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson. “Community-based organizations can play a vital role in spreading the word about the steps people must take to receive their payment.  Part of that message should be to seek help from reputable sources and avoid Internet solicitations.”

Generally, workers who earn less than $8,750 if single, $11,250 if a single parent or $17,500 if married are not required to file a tax return. This year, however, they should file a simple tax return if they had at least $3,000 in qualifying income which is defined as earned income, nontaxable combat pay or certain Social Security, Veterans Affairs or Railroad Retirement benefits. It also can be a mix of pay and benefits.

The IRS will mail 20.5 million information packages to Social Security and Veterans Affairs recipients. In all, more than 130 million individuals and couples may be eligible for an economic stimulus payment of up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples.). Some households may qualify for an additional $300 for each eligible child younger than 17.

People who normally do not file a tax return may be eligible for the minimum payment of $300 ($600 for married couples) plus the additional $300 per eligible child.

There are some caveats: People must have at least $3,000 in qualified income, valid Social Security numbers for themselves and their qualifying children and cannot be a dependent or be eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

Organizations with interest in providing information to Americans who may be eligible for these payments can go to IRS.gov for materials and marketing tools to help spread the word.

An IRS.gov Web page, Economic Stimulus Payments: Marketing Products for Partners, has one-page flyers, envelop stuffers and more information that can be downloaded. Also available is the Package 1040A-3, a 8-page package containing everything low-wage workers need to file a tax form immediately.