Monday, April 14, 2008

Rebate checks may stimulate on-time tax returns

Reversing a trend, more Americans are expected to file by Tuesday's deadline to get their economic stimulus payments.

There's nothing like a little stimulus to get taxpayers to file on time.

As of early April, about 9% more federal tax returns had been filed than at this time a year ago, the Internal Revenue Service said. The reason could be the economic stimulus law passed by Congress -- because to get a rebate check you have to file a federal tax return.

Returns for the 2007 tax year must be filed electronically or postmarked before midnight Tuesday, unless the taxpayer files a request for an automatic extension. (Taxpayers living outside the U.S. get automatic two-month extensions and members of the military serving in combat zones don't have to file until 180 days after their return.)

The IRS had estimated that extension requests would rise to 10.3 million this year from about 10 million last year, but that forecast was made before Congress passed the stimulus bill. The checks are scheduled to start going out in May.

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