Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

IRS Campaign Can Help Bring Unclaimed Economic Stimulus Payments into Local Communities

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

IRS Campaign Can Help Bring Unclaimed Economic Stimulus Payments into Local Communities

Article excerpt

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a new summer campaign last week to reach retirees and disabled veterans who qualify for the federal government's 2008 economic stimulus payment (ESP), but have not filed tax returns in order to claim the payment. This campaign can help city leaders bring needed federal dollars into their communities by reaching out to residents who have not yet claimed their payments.

So far, the IRS has issued 76.5 million payments worth $63.8 billion based on the 2007 tax returns processed, and expects to issue 124 million payments to Americans by the year's end. However, new statistics released by the IRS indicate that at least 5.2 million individuals have not yet claimed the ESP. These eligible individuals are missing out on payments of up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples filing joint returns), plus $300 for eligible children younger than 17.

A special stimulus category includes recipients of certain benefits from Social Security and Veterans Affairs who are not normally required to file a tax return. However, these individuals must file a tax return before October 15 of this year to receive their economic stimulus payments.

What Cities Can Do

The IRS can help city leaders identify residents who have not claimed payments and develop targeted outreach strategies to assist these residents in filing tax returns. The new IRS data can help local officials identify the number of individuals in a state, county, city or even a Zip code who have not yet claimed their payments.

City officials can contact their regional IRS offices where IRS SPEC (Stakeholder, Partnerships, Education and Communication) representatives can analyze the data for their cities to find out the number of residents receiving Social Security or Veterans Affairs benefits who have not claimed payments and where they are located. …

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