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Your (Not So Free) Free Money-2008 Stimulus

monopoly-money-748981Many people received the 2008 stimulus checks. The IRS estimated that approximately 124 million families would receive the checks ranging from $300-$1200 depending on the individual or families eligibility. The IRS also stated that the stimulus payments were not taxable, wouldn’t reduce 2007 or 2008 tax refunds nor would it increase the amount a tax payer owed on their 2008 taxes.

So, why is it that as tax season begins for 2008 tax payers are fuming over the deduction of the stimulus payment from their 2008 tax return?

After personally hearing at least three people express their discontent with having to repay the stimulus payments I decided to check out why no one, or at least none of these people, had any idea that the stimulus money had to be repaid. Upon receiving the stimulus checks they were not under the impression that what they were receiving was basically a loan.

I went to the IRS website and on the site the stimulus money is defined as an advance payment. Now when I think of the word advance I immediately think of repayment, but according to the IRS.gov site the stimulus payments would not affect 2008 tax returns. Well a deduction of the exact amount of your stimulus payment from your 2008 tax return says otherwise.

After a little more blog browsing I came across others who state that they too had a deduction on their 2008 tax return that is the same amount of the stimulus check they received. 

After searching the IRS.gov site, and quite a few others, I still don’t have a definite answer as to whether or not recipients of the stimulus checks must pay the money back, however I will say that from those who have complaints, they are outraged that they were not told on the front end that what they were receiving had to be repaid. Some are saying that when having their taxes done at H&R Block the tax preparer asks how much you received from the stimulus package with no explanation of why the question is being asked. One tax payer stated that when she was asked by the tax preparer she asked why that information was needed and she was then told that the money she received would be deducted from this year’s return. She also babbled off some other information about credits, tax liability and excess, none of which the tax payer understood.

I am currently reading The Description of the “Economic Stimulus Act of 2008″

Hopefully within the pages of this document I will find the answer to the burning questions regarding repayment of the 2008 stimulus checks.

If anyone has any information please feel free to share.

…more information forthcoming

What Recession?

melt-for-waterI did not participate in any of the Black Friday rampages this year. Not just because I didn’t consider it worth my while to wake up before dawn to stand in long lines in the cold, shivering with my eyes set on the prize. Nor was my decision to not shop till I dropped based on the fact that I didn’t wish for the big ticket items at unbeatable prices, because I did.  I didn’t break the bank 11/28/08 because my bank is already cracked and busted, no need to scrape the pennies away. I am one of the people who even though I am surviving I am really feeling the crunch of the high gas prices and all of the other bloated expenses of everyday living. 

I know that many Americans felt that Black Friday gave them the opportunity to get many of the items they planned to purchase for Christmas at extremely low prices, but what about the Recession? You know the Recession that these same people complained about just days before they broke down the doors down at Walmart at 5am on Black Friday. You know, the Recession that has had them borrowing from family members and never paying them back. You know, the Recession that has had them going into the gas station and only purchasing $8 worth of gas for the car in which they are two months behind the payments on…yeah that Recession.

Those people mentioned above, you know the ones who hate that we are going through this Recession; this is how many of them spent their Black Friday

shopping_lines1

Doesn’t this huge crowd at Best Buy just scream Recession

I honestly don’t understand the reasoning behind people who are behind on their bills and living paycheck to paycheck participating in shopping sprees. Don’t they remember that they can’t afford to buy new gadgets and doo hickeys? Did they forget that they just said moments before they slipped on their coat and gloves to hit the big sales, that they were dead broke?

I for one have decided that yes I will be celebrating Christmas, but I will in no way be breaking the already crumbling bank. I will be purchasing practical gifts and there will be no overspending. Even though I would like a new spiffy cell phone for myself that may not happen. When I look at my expenses, I will decide if that purchase is one that can be afforded. Along with the cutting of my own personal purchases, I will also be looking at how much money I spend on my kids and other relatives and friends. Don’t get me wrong, they won’t get crappy gifts, but I will be paying close attention to my pocket book. (pocket book, now that’s a throwback word lol) True I could have camped out on Black Friday to ensure that I got the best prices for my money, but I guarantee that most of the people who were out there on their shopping missions spent the money they intended to spend, the money they didn’t intend to spend and the money they claimed they didn’t have (most likely the money they owed friends and family and haven’t paid back)

With people making it rain and money being spent as if the economy is in a fertile and stable state, from the outside looking in we could say “What Recession.” Surely this country isn’t going through a Recession because we have money to burn and gadgets to buy.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel the Recession. I am definitely not in “What Recession” mindset.

CNN-  Gifts In A Recession

USA Today- Stocks & the Recession