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February 8, 2009 8:44 AM   Subscribe

E-filed federal taxes Jan 31st. Question about last years's rebate and why on earth it's affecting this year's taxes.

I (and my husband) received $1200 last years for the rebate.

I stated on my taxes this year that I got the $1200.

All of a sudden my "refund due" got diminished by $600.

I'm reading all these articles now that by entering what rebate you got last year it should not increase or decrease the standard refund you are owed.

What are my options now that I've already filed it and I'm due to get my refund ($600 short) around 02/14? Am I entitled to get the $600 back that they deducted from my refund when I declared getting the rebate? Or am I SOL? Or am I missing something completely about how last year's rebate + this year's taxes affect each other?
posted by icarus to Law & Government (11 answers total)
what happened was that the money Bush sent you was a rebate on this year's taxes...if you collected that rebate "early" ie when it was issued, you are not due it now. So your rebate was included on the cash counter on the efile thingy until you put in that you'd already gotten it, then it was taken away. I only got $402 "early" so I get the other 198 now.
posted by legotech at 8:58 AM on February 8, 2009

Response by poster: If that's the case, why was my rebate up or down by $600? Why not up or down by $1200?
posted by icarus at 9:03 AM on February 8, 2009

The Rebate checks specifically said they were not going to be taxed. It should not be affecting our taxes, but I am pretty sure it shouldn't be claimed as income.

I'll have to see what TurboTax tells me. :)
posted by AltReality at 9:19 AM on February 8, 2009

Response by poster: I have been using Turbo Tax, FYI. I don't think the checks are added as income or taxed in any way, but the way they affect the "refund due" is still peculiar.
posted by icarus at 9:25 AM on February 8, 2009

Are you filing jointly with your husband? I did my taxes using H&R block online, and it asked for the amount of my rebate. I put in $600, and nothing changed on my refund. However, if I put in different numbers, the refund adjusts accordingly. It sounds like for whatever reason, Turbo Tax was expecting that you received just $600 as a rebate, so when you put in $1200, it saw that as $600 "extra" and deducted that from your refund. This irs.gov page explains the rebate as $1200 for married filing jointly, $600 otherwise.
posted by donnagirl at 10:05 AM on February 8, 2009

Response by poster: I am filing jointly with my husband; we've been filing jointly for the last 4 years.
posted by icarus at 10:11 AM on February 8, 2009

Double check the instructions for the 1040 form. I heard a news report that there is a confusing line on the form that says something like "rebate received", but that doesn't apply to all rebates.
posted by gjc at 11:25 AM on February 8, 2009

A lot of the tax prep software that went out this year is screwing up this particular calculation. Check out the Turbo Tax web site to see if there's a patch yet.
posted by Maisie Jay at 2:23 PM on February 8, 2009

Response by poster: That's the article I read. But what do I do after I've already filed? Am I owed $600 by the IRS? Will they notice and just give me the $600? Or do I have to file an amended return after I get the refund from them?

I guess the best thing to do is give them a call Monday morning. I was hoping I could avoid the "please hold" music but I guess that'll be the safest bet.
posted by icarus at 3:24 PM on February 8, 2009

I would call tomorrow, but FTA:
“We are seeing this and similar problems with many returns,” said Eric Erickson, a spokesman for the IRS. If a software package is telling you that you owe more tax or is shrinking your refund because of the stimulus payment, “what we are telling people to do is just leave the line blank or enter a zero.”
posted by misterbrandt at 4:21 PM on February 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

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