Thursday, May 15, 2008

Really, just where the heck is my rebate!?!

A lot of taxpayers are starting to feel like these turkey vultures.


Yep, patience is starting to wear thin as folks wait for their rebate money.

Emotions range from frustrated but slightly apologetic Jesi:

I really don't want to bit** about this money because this time last year, I didn't ; know or expect to be getting it and am grateful that I am now. But it's like dangling candy in front of a two-year-old. I was supposed to get mine today and nothing. I know that I do not owe anything and made all the qualifying items …

To the somewhat more agitated Kollette:

I'm on the "before May 5" schedule for direct deposits and have been looking for something ever since. How do we find out? Who do we talk to? If you give me something and tell me when you're going to give it to me, why should I have to find out when it's coming?

To the downright angry Pierre:

This is damned bull crap. A lot of the people I know who have last 2 digits in the 30s-70s range say they haven't received it. Its bull****. You do everything by the book and they still find a way to screw you over. Those dates might as well be lies to shut people up and give them false hope of a quick direct deposit. I did my taxes early and I waited patiently to the 9th of May and what? NOTHING! It must be a scam being played on us by this government. False hope, that's all we get here.

As Jesi also noted, the waiting is a problem many taxpayers are having. And they're starting to demand at least some answers as to why they haven't seen a cent of the economic stimulus payment yet.

Timetable travails: It certainly was exciting when, back on March 18 the IRS announced the timetable for rebate delivery. But the problem with putting out specific dates is that even if you qualify them by noting that other factors might mean your money won't show up exactly when you expect it, folks don't care about that.

What they care about is you -- IRS, Congress, Dubya -- said you were giving them money. You laid out some dates. You made us mark our calendars. Now deliver, in every sense of the word!

The expectation factor then got ramped up when Dubya and his Treasury Department minions decided he original rebated delivery schedule needed to be accelerated.

The interesting thing in all this is that even after the prez's announcement that the rebate money would be going out sooner, the IRS never adjusted its original delivery schedule posted on its Web site.

And the agency is in basic CYA mode in its latest rebate FAQs. There, one of the most common questions is, "I filed my return on time, but I haven’t received my stimulus payment, even though the payment date listed for my Social Security number has passed. Why?"

The official IRS answer, or to anxious taxpayers, non-answer to this increasingly asked question is:

In general, the payment schedule only applies if your return was received and the IRS finished processing it before April 15. If you filed your return on time, but close to the April 15 deadline, the IRS may not have finished processing it before April 15.

Processing times for tax returns and stimulus payments vary. If you are getting a regular income-tax refund, the IRS will send you that refund first. Normally, your stimulus payment will follow one to two weeks later.

If you are not expecting a regular tax refund, your stimulus payment generally should arrive a minimum of six weeks after you file.

Also, if you chose direct deposit and requested a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) or had your refund deposited into more than one account, you will receive a paper check based on the distribution schedule for paper checks.

So what the IRS essentially is saying is that although we put out a schedule, we have lots of other things that could keep us from meeting it.

Hmmm. Perhaps Pierre's analysis is correct.

So what to do? Right now, my best advice is to check the IRS' Where's My Rebate? online tracker (blogged about here).

I know; it seems counterintuitive to trust the IRS with regard to anything associated with the rebates. But the rebate tracking program is based on the similar Where's My Refund? system, and that seems to work well.

So the rebate one should (and I say that with my fingers crossed, making it hard to type!) help you discover just what the hold up is with your stimulus money.

I do know that some checks and direct deposits have been sent out. Here's hoping yours is next in line.

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