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Old 03-26-2020, 06:43 AM
Keeve is offline
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The checks they're sending are a scam


My recollection is that the $300/$600 check that the US government gave us in 2008 was not free money. It was a loan, or more technically, an advance from the tax refunds we would otherwise have gotten the following year. It seems that the same thing is happening now. I just read this in Forbes magazine:
Quote:
Do I need to file anything to get my check? Technically, the checks are advances of refundable credits. Treasury will advance your check based on your most recently filed tax return (2018 or 2019 tax return).

Okay, I donít understand. What is a refundable tax credit? The check acts like a refund you get in advance. When you file your 2020 tax return, the IRS will compare your income numbers. If you should have gotten more than you did, youíll get a refund. Most taxpayers should get just the right amount.
So, what's the Straight Dope? Is next years tax refund going to be smaller by $2400 if my wife and I get a check now for that amount?
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Old 03-26-2020, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keeve View Post
My recollection is that the $300/$600 check that the US government gave us in 2008 was not free money. It was a loan, or more technically, an advance from the tax refunds we would otherwise have gotten the following year. It seems that the same thing is happening now. I just read this in Forbes magazine:So, what's the Straight Dope? Is next years tax refund going to be smaller by $2400 if my wife and I get a check now for that amount?
My recollection is quite different. IIRC it was basically free money. In fact I ended up getting an automatic audit that ended up giving me even more money as I recall.

Thank you Obama and Bush.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:28 AM
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The issue at hand is do you qualify for the whole amount or not? (The amount is reduced if you make over $75k this year. Double for married folk.)

They will use your 2018/2019 income to guess how much you are supposed to get. Problem: Maybe your income this year differs enough that you should have gotten less (or more). So when filing taxes next year, the amount will be recalculated and either you may some of it back or you get a bigger refund if they didn't give you enough.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:46 AM
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Thank you, ftg! That explanation perfectly fits the words Forbes used. And it might have applied to 2008 too, and I just didn't get it.

Ignorance fought!
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:31 AM
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It's like an advanced refundable tax rebate, not a loan. AND, there is no penalty if your income changes and you would qualify for a lower rebate. You can only qualify for more if your income changes. So if they overpay, you keep it. Underpay and you can get more when filing taxes.

Also, 2001 and 2008 were both Bush. I preferred Obama as POTUS but he didn't do a personal tax rebate stimulus.
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Old 03-26-2020, 11:39 AM
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My recollection is that the checks we got under the Bush, fils, administration, did not have to be paid back, but were taxable income. We had to declare them as income on our taxes the following year. So people like us, who weren't making much, and had a child, so we got EITC, got a refund, and did not actually pay any tax on the checks, but they probably affected the amount of our refund. I'm guessing not by a lot-- maybe $50, considering that we were in a low bracket at the time, and I didn't get the full amount: DH got the full amount, but I got only $300. I'm not sure why.

I'm going to guess that this will be the case here. We won't have to pay back the full amount out of our refunds; however, the checks will be taxable income.

I'm also going to guess that not a lot of people are going to be paying taxes next year.
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Old 03-26-2020, 12:54 PM
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Scam? I don't think that word means what you think it means.
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:41 PM
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No, wrong link

Last edited by IvoryTowerDenizen; 03-26-2020 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:59 PM
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$150K is a huge income for a couple to still qualify for this money. We don't make nearly that much, but we don't need this, and we live in San Francisco. We're both retired, we both get Social Security, plus one nice pension and an IRA that may not be quite as big as it used to be (but I expect will recover).

What are our options?

Opt out, if possible
Bank it for a rainy day
Give it to charity (giving us a small benefit on our taxes this year)
Spend it to "boost the economy"

What would you do if you truly didn't need this money?

eta: if the plan is as described in the OP, then WTF is going to happen to the millions of people who don't get refunds?

Last edited by Roderick Femm; 03-26-2020 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:34 PM
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Give it to a medical charity that's buying supplies. Give it to friends too poor to survive this on their own.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:57 PM
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My mother and my aunt live on Social Security. They don't file taxes because they don't make enough money to have to pay taxes, or to get refunds. Will they get these stimulus checks?
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Kitchen View Post
My mother and my aunt live on Social Security. They don't file taxes because they don't make enough money to have to pay taxes, or to get refunds. Will they get these stimulus checks?
Yes according to these articles.

https://www.krem.com/article/news/he...f-b598e7fcc0d3

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/25/cong...ronavirus.html
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:11 PM
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Mine's going to be less than $500 if I'm doing the math right, and I'm being paid in full for working from home, so I'm not an average person.
That said, I intend to donate about half to charity and put the rest in savings towards upcoming (knock on wood!) wedding expenses.
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