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Getting Your Tax Stimulus Check

If you’re wondering where your stimulus check is, try this IRS tool [3].

Update: The bill has passed, the checks will be mailed out based on this stimulus tax rebate check schedule [4], so file your returns (even if you didn’t need to) to get your check.

I wanted to make an addendum to the article I wrote about the 2008 Tax Rebate Stimulus package [5] that was recently passed in the House of Representatives. There have been a lot of questions as to how much someone would get, what tax year the rules are applied to, what counts as a “child,” etc.

First off, I think we are still too early in the game to be discussing those things because the Senate still needs to pass a similarly worded bill, the two bills have to be married, and then the President needs to sign it. Then the number crunchers have to do the math and then finally checks will be mailed out in May or June or July. The biggest of the hurdles will come in the Senate but ultimately there still are many hurdles. This “economic stimulus package” (I put it in quotes because there is fierce debate as to the effectiveness of the package) is still far from a certainty. Preparing as if it will appear in a few months would be a mistake.

Secondly, since you won’t have to do anything (you don’t file a form, you don’t call anyone), there isn’t really much you should do. If it goes through, a check will arrive in the mail one day in May or June or July and you’ll find yourself a few hundred dollars richer. If you’re just treading water, maybe that gets you some breathing room. If you’re more financially stable, maybe you put that towards some debt or pad your emergency fund. If you’re looking to make a purchase that’s contingent on getting that check, I’d wait until after it clears before swiping your card.

lastly, don’t believe the mainstream media when they say that a deal has been struck and that you will definitely be getting money. A deal was made in the House, the other chamber has yet to pass something, and Congress’ idea of breakneck speed leaves much to be desired. Do not count on this money!