October 15, 2008

Whitehouse: IRS Says Rhode Islanders Can Still File for Rebates

Deadline Was to Have Been Today to Request Stimulus Payments

Washington, D.C. – The Internal Revenue Service will still accept claims for federal stimulus checks after the October 15 deadline, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) reported today.

Concerned that nearly 18,000 Rhode Islanders had yet to file paperwork to receive a rebate, many of them seniors and veterans with disabilities, Whitehouse wrote Douglas Shulman, Commissioner of the IRS, last Friday asking that the deadline be extended to November 15. Stimulus checks yet to be claimed by Rhode Islanders could amount to as much as $5.4 million.

The IRS told Whitehouse’s office today that it will continue to process requests for the rebate payments after today’s deadline, though the agency urged those who have not yet filed to do so quickly.

“In difficult economic times, every little bit helps,” Whitehouse said. “Rhode Islanders who haven’t yet claimed a rebate check should file as soon as possible to get this assistance promptly.”

Under economic stimulus legislation passed in February, the federal government provided rebate checks, starting at $300, to low- and middle-income Americans. During debate over the stimulus plan, Whitehouse urged Senate leaders to include rebates for millions of seniors living on Social Security who would have been ineligible to receive assistance under a proposal negotiated between President Bush and the House of Representatives. More than 138,000 retired Rhode Islanders received Social Security benefits in 2007 with Social Security benefits averaging just $12,956 per year.

The stimulus package that was ultimately passed by Congress and signed into law extended the rebate program to include seniors living on Social Security benefits, and disabled veterans or their survivors. The tax-free rebates were sent automatically to eligible Americans who filed a federal income tax return for 2007. However, many Social Security and VA beneficiaries do not normally file a tax return, and so they must file separate paperwork this year to receive a rebate.

Those who have not yet filed can visit www.irs.gov to download copies of the forms or for more information, or stop by the IRS’s local offices at 380 Westminster Street, Providence, or 60 Quaker Lane, Warwick, to get paperwork and preparation assistance (no appointment is needed). The offices are open from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.


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