Economic Stimulus

Vermonters this month are to begin receiving about $300 million as part of an economic stimulus plan that Congress passed in February, according to the Internal Revenue Service. About 340,000 Vermonters are to receive payments, The Associated Press reported. Senator Bernie Sanders helped strengthen the package in the Senate by adding help for seniors and disabled veterans. "You want to put money in the hands of people who need it the most. They're the ones who are going to spend it the quickest

Vermonters this month are to begin receiving about $300 million as part of an economic stimulus plan that Congress passed in February, according to the Internal Revenue Service. About 340,000 Vermonters are to receive payments, The Associated Press reported. Senator Bernie Sanders helped strengthen the package in the Senate by adding help for seniors and disabled veterans. "You want to put money in the hands of people who need it the most. They're the ones who are going to spend it the quickest."

The Treasury Department is beginning to send economic stimulus payments that eventually will go to more than 130 million individuals. The stimulus payments will be spread out. Some people will not receive them until this summer.

The vast majority of Americans who qualify for the payment will not have to do anything other than file their 2007 individual income tax return to receive their payment this year. The IRS will use information on the tax return to determine eligibility and calculate the amount of the stimulus payments.

The stimulus payments will be direct deposited for taxpayers selecting that option when filing their 2007 tax returns. Taxpayers who have already filed with direct deposit won't need to do anything else to receive the stimulus payment. For taxpayers who haven't filed their 2007 returns yet, the IRS reminds them that direct deposit is the fastest way to get both regular refunds and stimulus payments.

The IRS will use the 2007 tax return to determine eligibility and calculate the basic amount of the payment. In most cases, the payment will equal the amount of tax liability on the return with a maximum amount of $600 for individuals ($1,200 for taxpayers who file a joint return) and a minimum of $300 for individuals ($600 for taxpayers who file a joint return).

Even those who have little or no tax liability may qualify for a minimum payment of $300 ($600 if filing a joint return) if their tax return reflects $3,000 or more in qualifying income.

Low-income workers who have earned income above $3,000 but do not have a regular filing requirement still had to file a 2007 tax return in order to receive the minimum stimulus payment. Also Social Security recipients, certain Railroad retirees, and those who receive the veterans' benefits must file a 2007 return in order to notify the IRS of their qualifying income.

The stimulus checks are designed to give a quick jolt to the economy. There are more deeply engrained problems, such as the high rate of childhood poverty and a gap between the rich and the rest of us that is wider than at any time since the Roaring Twenties. To take our quiz on the economy, click here.