In an effort to reach people who don't normally file a tax return but who will need to file for 2007 in order to qualify for the economic stimulus package, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) opened 320 offices nationwide on March 29th for "Super Saturday," working with volunteers from partners including the AARP Tax Aide program and the United Way. IRS field assistance personnel also visited nursing homes and similar locations to prepare returns.
Jim Dau, a spokesman for AARP, estimates that 12 million rebate-eligible senior citizens who ordinarily don't have to file tax returns will have to file this year to get a check. "It's definitely an issue," Dau said, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram. "The biggest concern is simply raising awareness."
IRS representative Jerrie Muir and AARP volunteer Donna Munday spent Saturday at the Veterans Home in Barstow, CA helping residents eligible for a rebate of at least $300 to prepare their 2007 tax returns.
"The intent is that they receive these economic stimulus payments and then they go out and spend money and stimulate the economy," Muir said according to desertdispatch.com. "For seniors living on a fixed income, a check for $300 or $600 can mean the difference between buying items like medication or doing without."
Veterans Home Activities Coordinator Maria Rodriguez said that many of the approximately 155 residents would not have the resources to get tax help on their own without the assistance of volunteers.
Of the 29 veterans who got tax help Saturday, two of them owed taxes and the rest had zero taxable income, meaning that they did not owe taxes and are not owed a refund, Muir said.
In Yuma, AZ, IRS staff and volunteers assisted dozens of retirees and low-income residents at the IRS office on Saturday, the Yuma Sun reports. One retiree, Joseph Carver, had not filled out a tax return since 1985, but the prospect of receiving a rebate from the government brought him to the IRS office on "Super Saturday." "I hope it helps," he said. "[My rebate will] pay bills, mostly. That's what I do with most of my money. There's a lot of places to put it, all right."
Pamela Grigsby, a senior individual taxpayer advisory specialist in Shreveport, LA has been going out to nursing homes to help people fill out their returns. But even with all of the IRS' outreach efforts including an April 12th repeat of Super Saturday, extended hours until the April 15th tax-filing deadline, and trips into the community, Grigsby feels people still will miss out, and a large number of the rebates will go unclaimed, the Shreveport Times reports.
This week the IRS is mailing 20.5 million Social Security and Veterans Affairs recipients a Package 1040A-3 that contains all the information they need to file a return immediately. Railroad Retirement recipients, low-income individuals, and military personnel with nontaxable combat pay also can use the package if they need to file solely to receive the payment.