Michael on February 13th, 2009
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My daughter did not work in 2007, and she had no income.  She did not file a 2007 tax return because she did not work.  Will she be able to get the recovery rebate check this year.  She did work in 2008.

- Lisa S.

Short Answer: If she files a tax return, she will get the credit.

Detailed explanation: Few tax topics are raising more questions and (errors in tax preparation) this year then the recovery rebate credit.  It’s a topic I first discussed in January.  In theory, it’s very simple:  the recovery rebate credit gives you a second shot at last year’s economic stimulus payment.  So,

  • If you got the maximum economic stimulus check last year, you won’t get a recovery rebate credit.
  • If you got less than the maximum, you might qualify for the recover rebate credit.

You: But what was the maximum economic stimulus payment?

The maximum was $600 for a single individual and $1,200 for a married couple.  If you have children, your maximum was increased by $300 per child.  Certain low-wage workers and those on Social Security also qualified for only a $300 payment ($600 if married).  However, you needed to file a tax return to get the economic stimulus payment.  If you didn’t file a return last year and qualify this year, you can still get the payment if you file this year.  (That’s your daughter’s situation, Lisa.)

Read the original recovery rebate credit post for more details and extensive comments about other facts that may have changed your possible eligibility in leading to a possible credit coming your way.  For example, if you had another child in 2008 (as I did), you’ll get the credit for that alone.  If you’re income went down or up significantly, it’s also possible that you will be eligible for the credit.

Either way, make sure you’re getting your taxes prepared the right way!

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2 Comments to “Recovery Rebate Credit: Friday Q & A”

  1. Anon says:

    If my son lived with his dad last year and did not get the stimulus for him because he filled the papers out wrong, can i get it for him this year?

  2. Michael says:

    @Anon: No special papers were required to receive the economic stimulus payment last year other than the filing of his tax return. If your son’s father didn’t file his tax return last year (or filed it improperly), then yes, there’s another shot at it this year.

    Note the general rule: Your son can only qualify once (in either 2008 or 2009) and only for one parent – the one who can take him as an exemption on his or her tax return.

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