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Montana Income Tax Refund Information

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Montana Income Tax Refund Information document sample

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									                                   What Your Caregiver Families
                                           (And YOU!)
                                    Need To Know To Claim All
                               The Money You’ve Earned At Tax Time!

                                             March 12, 2008
        Hello Everyone! Thanks so much for joining us today for our chat on tax credits that
        may be available to the caregivers you serve! Our very special guest is Roxy Caines
        from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities! We posted, on our private page, a
Melinda summary of the Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit, for your information.
        Thanks so much, Roxy, for joining us today to answer questions our RAPPs have about
        these tax credits and to share any other information you think might be helpful.
        Welcome!
Roxy    Hello everyone! I am pleased to join you today!
        Dawn joined.
Melinda If you have specific questions for Roxy, please feel free to ask them!
         As you know, we are in the middle of tax season. Many people have already filed their
         tax returns, but some have not. This is still a good time to make sure people know
Roxy
         about the Earned Income Credit (EIC), Child Tax Credit (CTC) and free tax filing
         assistance.

Melinda Roxy, if people have already filed, is it too late to benefit from these credits?
        No, it is not! For people who have already filed their tax return, first they will want to
        look at the copy of their return to see if they claimed the EIC and CTC. If they did not,
Roxy    and they are eligible, they can amend their tax return to claim these credits. This doesn't
        just apply to this current tax year. In fact, eligible persons can claim EIC and CTC
        refunds for up to three previous years!
        That's good to know, that you can claim back three years. For the CTC, do you need to
Melinda
        work to get the benefits? Must you have earned income for both of these credits?
Victor Is this fairly easy to figure out or should they get help?
        Yes, you must have earned income for both of these credits. Earned income mainly
Roxy    refers to salary, wages and tips. It also includes union strike benefits, self-employment
        income, military combat pay and long-term disability benefits.

         Victor, are you asking if it is fairly easy to determine if you are eligible to claim the
Roxy
         EIC and CTC, or is it fairly easy to amend a tax return?

Rolanda Does the new stimulus payment affect the EIC or CTC?
Victor I meant to do the paper work, both current tax return and/or amended.

          The economic stimulus payments that will be issued beginning in May do not affect
Roxy      who can claim the EIC and CTC. The payments will not reduce an EIC or CTC
          refund.
Laura_Lou Does Social Security count as earned income?
           There are places that can help caregivers fill these out for free, right Roxy? If so,
Melinda    maybe we can share that info with RAPPs. Also great would be information - in
           different languages, on these benefits and you can help with that, right Roxy?

Victor     Different languages as in English, Spanish and IRS?
           To claim the EIC and CTC, one must file a tax return using Form 1040 or 1040A. To
           claim the EIC, one must also file the Schedule EIC which is a form that asks for
           basic information about the qualifying children — name, SSN, number of months
           lived with the worker and relationship to the worker. To claim the CTC, one must
           complete Form 8812 which requires a bit of math. One can complete these forms
           alone, but if someone is nervous about making a mistake, there are Volunteer Income
Roxy       Tax Assistance (VITA) sites across the country that have trained volunteer tax
           preparers who can complete these forms. Call 1-800-829-1040 to locate the site
           nearest you. Alternatively, one can try using an online program that guides people to
           complete there tax returns. One such program is called I-CAN-E-FILE!,
           www.icanefile.org. This program is available to people in California, Michigan,
           New York, Pennsylvania, Montana and Alaska. If you are in another state and need
           help, please contact me.

           Social Security does not count as earned income for the EIC and CTC. Welfare
Roxy       benefits, veterans’ benefits, unemployment compensation, interest and dividends are
           also some of the types of income that are excluded from earned income.

Melinda    Would a tax preparer automatically tell people they are eligible?

           Melinda, I can provide you more info on finding free tax preparation to share with
           RAPPs. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities produces an EIC and CTC flyer
Roxy
           in 21 languages. All fliers are posted to our website: www.cbpp.org/eic2008. The
           fliers can be found under the "Outreach Tools" link.

Melinda    Are the tax credits available at the state level as well?
Melinda    Great, we'll post any other information on where to go for help after the chat!
           Victor, I know it can seem like the IRS speaks a different language sometimes, but
           make no mistake! are talking about claiming money that taxpayers have earned! This
Roxy
           year, the EIC is worth a maximum of $4,716 and the CTC is worth a maximum of
           $1,000 per child.
           Tax preparers at VITA sites are generally trained to tell people that they are eligible
Roxy       for the EIC and/or CTC and the amount of their expected refund. Some paid tax
           preparers do this to, but many do not.

          Roxy, what are some of the reasons that grandparents and other caregivers don't
Melinda
          claim the tax? Is it mostly that they don't know they are eligible?
Laura_Lou In West Virginia AARP offers free tax service.
          Melinda, excellent question about state level tax credits. There are about 19 states
          that have a state EIC. It is a percentage of the federal EIC. Some states have
          refundable state EICs and some are non-refundable. Either way, they can help
Roxy
          maximize a worker's refund. I can send info on which states have state EICs and how
          much they are worth to you to share with the RAPP network. There are no state
          CTCs.

Rolanda   Do you think caregivers may feel that the tax credit may jeopardize other benefits?

Rolanda   So for clarification purposes, is the State EIC in addition to the federal EIC?
          Yes, AARP has a free tax filing assistance program as well. In some locations, they
Roxy      will only help people who are seniors, but in other locations they will help other
          families as well.
          Will the economic stimulus payment decrease the amount of federal income tax
Dawn
          refund someone receives for 2008?
          How long does the child have to have been living with the relative to be eligible for
Melinda   the credits? Is custody an issue? For example, can someone without legal custody get
          the credits?
          There are a few reasons why grandparents and other caregivers may not claim the
          EIC and CTC. Not knowing they are eligible is a major reason. Some caregivers may
          think that a child has to be your son or daughter to claim these tax credits.
Roxy      Grandchildren, step children, adopted children, brothers, sisters and foster children
          (placed with the worker by an authorized agency) can be claimed as qualifying
          children. Caregivers may also not claim the credits because they don't know how to
          find help preparing tax returns.
          Some caregivers are also concerned that claiming the EIC and CTC will impact their
Roxy      benefits, such as foster care benefits. But, generally speaking, the receipt of one won't
          jeopardize any other benefits they receive.
          The State EIC is in addition to the federal EIC. In states that have a refundable state
Roxy      EIC, workers will be able to claim a total EIC refund that is more than the $4,716
          federal maximum.
          Dawn, the economic stimulus payment will not decrease the amount of the federal
Roxy      income tax refund someone receives for 2008. It is a payment and does not need to
          be paid back and does not offset future refunds. Good question!

          Roxy, it's great that the Center provides the fliers, in different languages, on your
          website. RAPP facilitators can download them and make sure their caregivers
Melinda   receive them at the meetings. If they've already filed and not claimed, what a
          pleasant surprise to know they can go back three years. I hope we take advantage of
          the information and use it at our next meetings!
          I also found it interesting that your fact sheet - from the IRS - says that people who
Melinda   don't normally file tax returns can get a stimulus payment If they file. Many low
          income people who get social security benefits wouldn't be filing.
          For the EIC and CTC, custody is not a factor in determining who can claim the
          credits. A qualifying child must live with a worker for more than half the year. As
Roxy
          long as this residency requirement is fulfilled (along with other basic requirements),
          the person can claim the child for the tax credit.
          Yes, the fact that many people who get social security benefits and veterans’ benefits
          do not file a tax return, but must do so to receive the economic stimulus payments is
Roxy      troubling. The Center and several other national organizations are currently involved
          in efforts to simplify this process and make sure that this population will be able to
          get help since filing a tax return will be confusing to many.
          That's good to know Roxy, because it may be confusing and a bit scary. I know there
          is a limit on the amount you can make for the stimulus package, Roxy. Do we have a
Melinda
          figure and do we know when people will start receiving them? It's good to know they
          won't have to be paid back!
          Yes, my caregivers have been asking if they can get the stimulus if they are only on
carolyn
          social security and don't file?
          Those caregivers, Carolyn, may not have filed in the past if they only get social
Melinda   security benefits. That's why it is troubling that they would have to file. They would
          right Roxy?
          The IRS will start sending checks in May and will continue through the end of the
          year. Single filers who make less than $75,000 and joint filers with Adjusted Gross
Roxy      Income of less than $150,000 will generally receive stimulus payments. Recipients
          of social security benefits and veterans’ benefits must have at least $3,000 in benefits
          to receive a payment.
          Carolyn, you can let your caregivers know that they must have at least $3,000 in
Roxy
          social security benefits to get the stimulus payment.
Melinda   And that they must file, right Roxy?
          Yes Melinda, they would have to file. The IRS is conducting targeted outreach by
          matching information from the Social Security Administration to let people know
Roxy
          that they need to file a tax return this one time (for the first time in however many
          years) to get the payment.
Dawn      If someone's only source of income is SSI are they eligible to receive a payment?
          This would seem like an area where some quick publicity needs to be done with
Victor
          senior caregivers

          The IRS has designated March 29 as Super Saturday for Economic Stimulus
          Payments and is hoping that folks around the country will plan events to help these
Roxy      filers complete their tax return. However, this population does not need to file by
          April 15. They have until October 15 since they don't owe taxes. The Center will be
          encouraging our network to continue planning outreach events after March 29th.
          Dawn, I don’t think that SSI alone is an eligible source of income for the stimulus
Roxy      payment, but I will double check that. [Roxy followed up and here is her response:
          SSI is not an eligible source of income for economic stimulus payments].
          Roxy, that's good to know about the extended date for the stimulus package -- will
Melinda   the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities have a flier or does or will the IRS? We
          would like to get the word out as well!
Roxy      Any estimates on the number of senior caregivers?
           That was a good question about SSI. We can share the answer with the Network after
Melinda
           the chat, Roxy.
           The Center will be putting together outreach materials and the IRS does have 2 fliers,
Roxy       one geared to Social Security recipients and the other one is for Veterans. I will send
           you links to share. [Please see below for more information sent by Roxy].
Carolyn    Thank you Roxy. That would be very helpful.

Carolyn-   Can caregivers who are raising non-relative children qualify for the tax credits and
Yonkers    stimulus payment?

           Roxy, our network provides supportive services to grandparents and other relatives
Melinda
           raising children. Many seniors would be interested in this info!
Carolyn-
           The stimulus payment I am referring to is for a child.
Yonkers
           Carolyn, I believe children claimed for the economic stimulus payment still must
           meet the definition of a qualifying child for the CTC. Non-relative children would
           have to be placed with the caregiver by an authorized agency as a foster child. I will
           double check and let Melinda know. [Roxy followed up and here is her response: If a
Roxy       caregiver is a child's legal guardian, then it seems like the child would fall under the
           definition of a foster child for CTC/EIC purposes, because an authorized court
           agency has placed the child with the guardian by order of the court. If the child
           could not be claimed for the CTC, the additional stimulus payment for the child will
           not be made].

           Qualifying children for the EIC must be under age 19, or under age 24 if a full-time
           student, or any age if he or she has a permanent and total disability. For the CTC,
Roxy
           children must be under age 17. For the economic stimulus payments children must be
           under age 17 by December 31, 2008.
           Roxy, can you share any programs or promising practices that have been successful
Angela
           in increasing EIC utilization rates?
Carolyn-   That would be helpful to find out because we have at least one client who is raising
Yonkers    an unrelated child and is her legal custodian, not foster parent.
           Roxy will get any information on that point to me Carolyn and we'll share it with
Melinda
           everyone!
Carolyn-
           Thank you Melinda
Yonkers
           We can all try to help our relative caregivers by making information on the tax
           credits and the stimulus package available to them. Don't forget to check the website
Melinda
           for fliers in different languages and Roxy will get me the information on the stimulus
           package that you can share with them as well.
           Angela, a good part of the Center's National Tax Credit Outreach Campaign is
           dedicated to increasing EIC claims among eligible persons. It is estimated that
           nationally, 15-20 percent of eligible persons DO NOT claim the EIC.
           Promotion is very important. It is also important to address any
           misconceptions people have about the EIC. It was first enacted in 1975 and
           has changed a lot over the years. Some people know something about the EIC
           from several years ago and would be surprised to learn that it may not be the
           same today. Across the country, there are several tax credit outreach
           coalitions that are dedicated to promoting the EIC, providing free tax filing
           assistance and making sure that people know about the tax credits. I will send
           Melinda info about how to locate a tax credit outreach coalition near you. If
Roxy
           there isn't one in your area, we can help you start or expand tax credit
           outreach efforts to help make sure workers claim all the money they've
           earned. [Roxy followed up about information on tax credit outreach coalitions
           and here is her response: RAPPs can check the following website: www. tax-
           coalition.org/programs.cfm to learn about organizations providing free tax
           filing assistance. People can search for tax credit outreach coalitions by
           state that organize free tax filing assistance by visiting: www.cbpp.org/eitc-
           partnership/state-links.htm. This info is updated annually by the IRS. If
           someone doesn't see anything listed in their
           area, they should contact us because we might know of a newly formed
           partnership that has not developed relations with the IRS yet].
           Please feel free to ask any other questions of Roxy. We'll make sure they are
           answered and are part of the transcript we will have. Thanks so much Roxy,
           for answering our questions. We don't want our caregivers to miss out on
Melinda
           these important credits and the stimulus payments. All the information you
           will share with me will be sent to our Network along with the transcript.
           Thank you so much for joining us and sharing this information with us!
Rolanda    Thank you Roxy
          A transcript of this chat and the attachments will be available soon! Thank
Melinda
          you all for joining us!
          Thank you so much for allowing me to join this web chat. I hope the info was
          helpful and as Melinda mentioned, if you have any unanswered questions,
Roxy
          please feel free to contact me: caines@cbpp.org or 202-408-1080. Thanks so
          much and have a great day!
Laura_Lou Thank You!
Carolyn- This was a helpful update. Thanks to Melinda and Rolanda for bringing to the
Yonkers RAPP
Roxy provided this additional information after the chat:
Tax Preparation Information:
Contact the IRS helpline: 1-800-829-1040. RAPPs can also identify AARP Tax-Aide sites by
visiting www.aarp.org/money/taxaide.
Fact Sheet on State Earned Income Tax Credits:
www.cbpp.org/eic2008/docs/state-eitc.pdf
Social Security and Veterans Fliers on the Stimulus Package:
Social Security Flier:
www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/irs_pub_4663_ssa.pdf
Social Security Flier - In Spanish:
www.irs.gov/pub/newsroom/ssa_esp_flyer_sp.pdf

Veterans Affair Flier:
www.irs.gov/pub/irs-news/esp_p4664revised.pdf
Veteran’s Affair Flier – In Spanish:
www.irs.gov/pub/newsroom/va_esp_flyer_sp.pdf

More information on the Economic Stimulus Package can be found on the IRS website:
www.irs.gov.
Links to all Economic Stimulus Payment information are available. The website includes other
marketing materials, news releases, Public Service Announcements, Frequently Asked Questions
and a lot more.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is almost done completing their outreach flier and
Roxy will send it to us when available.

								
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