A few weeks ago, HispanicBusiness.com outlined the government's plans to stimulate the stumbling economy by putting a little cash into our pockets and pocketbooks. The program's roll out seemed promising: the Internal Revenue Service got a full week's jump on the original schedule, and by May 2, more than 7.7 million people had received a combined $7.09 billion. The agency also released a fairly straightforward schedule, outlining when each taxpayer is due to collect. The short answer to "When will I get my stimulus check?" was "it depends on when you filed your 2007 returns, if you set up direct deposit, and what the last two digits of your social security number are."
So . . . what happened?
For one, Newsday reported recently that there were incidents of misdirected funds, wherein electronic stimulus payments ended up in the wrong people's bank accounts. There were also reported incidences of unexpected paperwork problems that caused unplanned delays. For example, in cases where a taxpayer's 2007 return was filed with software or a service that directly subtracted a fee from his or her refund, the economic stimulus payment will be delivered as a physical check. This is a much slower process, of course, than direct deposit. Another hiccup was caused by the old adage, "Where there's money, there are people looking to take it." Earlier this month, the IRS warned that taxpayers should be aware of scam phone calls asking for "refund application forms," or similar e-mails asking for personal information, typical of a so-called "phishing" scam.
Despite these challenges, there has been progress. As of May 23, about 52 million stimulus payments had been sent, totaling about $45.7 billion. Still, many have not received their stimulus payment. If you are one of them, the IRS has provided an online tracking option known as the "Where's my payment" tool. There's also a Spanish version, ¿Dónde está mi Pago de Estímulo Económico? To use these tools, you should have your social security number, filing status, and the number of exemptions from on your 2007 tax return, handy.
There's an unlikely silver lining to this story, though. A month ago it was easy to dream of X-Box games, iPhones, or mp3 players. However, that was back when gasoline was below the $4 a gallon mark and American Airlines wasn't charging $15 for your first checked bag. Now that summer has arrived, delayed stimulus payments may be just the thing to mitigate those rising travel costs, and keep those vacation plans on track.
Most Popular Stories
- Ex-Mobster to Bulger: Just Say Sorry
- Google Stock Split Ahead
- Guns Are Hot in California
- OSH Selling Most of Its Stores to Lowe's
- Honda Says Sorry About the Lack of Electric Fits
- MillerCoors Taps New Hispanic Ad Agency
- El Paso Symposium Offers Help to Startups
- First Person Cured of AIDS Virus Wants to Help Others
- Small Businesses Hiring, but Worry About Expense
- LULAC Convention Starts With Focus on LGBT Youth