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Stimulus payments continue on schedule

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Millions of Americans have already received their economic stimulus payments, and millions more should expect to receive paper checks soon from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

As a result, the IRS has fielded a hefty amount of questions this spring about the payments. "We have received millions of questions about the stimulus payments," said Mark Green, IRS spokesman.

The most common question, according to Green, has been when taxpayers can expect their payments. "The stimulus payments are automatic for eligible taxpayers who filed a 2007 tax return," he said, adding that taxpayers do not need to take any additional action to receive the payment.

The stimulus payments will be issued according to the last two-digits of the taxpayer's Social Security number. For joint filers, the payments will go out based on the last two digits of the Social Security number of the person listed first on the return.

Payments are made by direct deposit or paper check, based on the option filers chose when they filed their 2007 tax returns. The initial round of stimulus payments will continue on a weekly basis through mid-July, when nearly 130 million payments will have been sent. More than seven million payments were direct deposited during the first week (April 28-May 2) of pay-outs.

Many who filed using the direct deposit option have already received their payments. Those who filed early enough to have their tax returns processed by April 15, and chose the paper-check option, will have payments mailed based on their Social Security numbers. Those whose numbers end with 19 - 25, should receive their payments no later than May 30; numbers 26 - 38, no later than June 6; 39 - 51, June 13; 52 - 63, June 20; 64 - 75, June 27; 76 - 87, July 4; and 88 - 99, July 11.

Green said a small percentage of tax returns will require additional time to process and to compute a stimulus payment amount. For taxpayers who filed after April 15, payments will take a minimum of six weeks from the date they filed their return.

Green added that taxpayers will not be able to correct direct deposit information or request a direct deposit after a return has been filed. Also, those who receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or veterans' benefits, and taxpayers who did not earn enough money to file a 2007 tax return, will be eligible to receive a payment of $300 ($600 on a joint return), if they had at least $3,000 of qualifying income.

"I would say close to a million taxpayers in Georgia could benefit from that," Green said. Those taxpayers would get their payments within four to six weeks.

This year's economic stimulus payments will continue to be mailed and direct deposited throughout the year, to some four million Georgia taxpayers, but already officials are gearing up for the next tax season.

In July, the IRS will host its 18th annual Nationwide Tax Forum series for tax professionals. The forum series' first session will be held July 1-3, at the Hilton Atlanta, 255 Courtland Street in downtown Atlanta.

The event will offer the latest word on new tax law and e-filing, as well as compliance and ethics issues. Attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with IRS executives, network with peers and receive Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

"We are excited about this year's event in Atlanta," said IRS Spokesman Green. "We have a dynamic workshop lineup, and downtown Atlanta is a great place to enhance your business skills, and earn CPE credits while also having fun."

The three-day forum will provide the most recent tax news and information during 43 hands-on seminars covering tax law changes, retirement plans, health care credits, audits, exempt organizations, delinquent tax accounts and ethics, among other topics.

In addition, the event will feature the very popular Form 990 Workshop, including information on the new Form 990; a new workshop on Retirement Plan Pitfalls and a two-day expo with representatives of numerous professional organizations, state-of-the-art software, and tax service innovations.

Representatives from the professional organizations leading seminars will include: the American Bar Association; the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; the National Association of Enrolled Agents; the National Association of Tax Professionals; the National Society of Accountants, and the National Society of Tax Professionals.

Officials encourage would-be participants to register early to receive half off the regular price of the event. Early registration is $179 per person until June 17. Afterward, the fee will be $299 per person. For more information, visit the IRS web site, or call toll free at 1(800) 829-1040.

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On the net:

Internal Revenue Service: www.irs.gov

Nationwide Tax Forum: www.taxforuminfo.com