What Do I Have To Do To Get My $600 Tax Credit?

Eric writes:

You’ve had a lot of press about the stimulus plan that’s about to send some cash my way. There’s been coverage all over the place, and everyone misses the most important part. What, EXACTLY, do I have to do to get this credit? I know I qualify. Do I have to send in an extra form? Is there a box I check? Am I supposed to expect the gov’t to actually do something right and take care of it themselves?

Yes. This is (probably) the easiest $600 you will ever made. Just file your taxes, sit back, and wait for the hot government scrizzle to come pouring into your mailbox.

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. 12-Inch Idongivafuck Sandwich says:

    Thanks for this, I was wondering the same thing…

    I’m assuming its a separate check I’ll be getting well after I get my tax refund check?

  2. CurbRunner says:

    I don’t trust my mail deliveries anymore.
    Will the Government do a direct deposit of this check into my bank/checking account?

  3. hexychick says:

    I had already e-filed my taxes and got a refund direct deposited by the time this was approved so I was wondering the same thing. Thanks for making this clear for those of us who are a little clueless.

  4. SangreDeThor says:

    I have been following the information about this plan but i can not tell if I qualify. If i file as a dependent (im 22 and in college) do i still qualify?

  5. ptkdude says:

    The next time you hear about how great “trickle-down economics” works, ask yourself why we’ve now had 2 economic stimulus rebate checks.

  6. matsayz says:

    @SangreDeThor: did you make more than $3000 and pay federal taxes?

  7. AD8BC says:

    @SangreDeThor: Good question. You might not get anything, but you might net your folks a cool $300.

  8. RandoX says:

    Are we still looking at the May/June time frame that I heard mentioned previously?

  9. smitty1123 says:

    @ptkdude: Tax cuts + Spending cuts = Fantastic!

    Tax cuts + Continued bloated spending = This

    It’s that second part that politicians can’t seem to figure out…

  10. CurbRunner says:

    @ptkdude: “The next time you hear about how great “trickle-down economics” works, ask yourself why we’ve now had 2 economic stimulus rebate checks.”

    The way “trickle-down economics” works is the same as feeding a bird by first giving a mule oats.

  11. emona says:

    Naturally I’m moving this month. I foresee a hassle in my future.

  12. @quarterly: Just set up a forwarding address. Four months after I moved I’m still getting forwarded mail.

  13. ianmac47 says:

    Is there anyway to skip the middleman and just receive the money as treasury bonds?

  14. eyebleave says:

    I only wish the IRS could see that I’m due in May and refund me the extra 300 now instead of having to wait for it until Jan-Feb of 2009 when I file my 2008 taxes.

    Also, is this a one year tax break? As I understand, congress has lowered my 2008 tax burden and is giving me the money in advance (Well, technically, in our case, giving us back what they had withheld up until May-July, which with the additional tax break would become over withholdings). Remember, it’s not the government is actually giving us money, for most tax payers, it’s just that they are taking less.

    Will my tax burden for my 2009 taxes be affected? Will my burden simply return to what it otherwise would have been had there not been this “stimulus plan”?

  15. punkrawka says:

    @ianmac47: No, because they want you to spend this money. Hence the term “stimulus.”

  16. Erwos says:

    @ptkdude: The cash isn’t a supply-side (aka, “trickle-down”) stimulus. Try learning more about economics before criticizing.

  17. ToadKillerDog says:

    RE Treasury Bonds: Doubt it. I think the govmnt wants you to go out and instantly blow your money on drugs and rock and roll. Some form of savings would be defying the people who screwed up the economy and would probably lead to an investigation by Homeland Security.

  18. theheights says:

    Isn’t the rebate technically just an advance on next year’s tax return? Or is it just “free money”?

  19. IssaGoodDay says:

    I am a college student with $0 tax liability, filing independently. I have made several times the sufficient, qualifying amount – but since I have no tax liability, does this mean that I will not get this rebate/credit?

  20. @CurbRunner: Slight difference. The mule has to take a dump eventually. In trickle down, the people at the top don’t necessarily have to give anything out. A better analogy for trickle down would be feeding rats by serving cake to people. The rich are the people, and the rest of us are the rats, getting the crumbs.


  21. joeblevins says:

    I think this is free money, so even the dirt bags that don’t make enough to pay taxes are still going ot get more money then they contribute.

  22. arch05 says:

    @joeblevins: RTF stimulus package before you speak. You thought wrong. Thanks.

  23. stinkingbob says:

    I have to agree that it is a dumb stimulus package.
    The majority of people will NOT buy anything with the money. Instead, they will pay off their bills with it (mortgage, credit card, utility, college tuition). So, in the end, the banks get the money. How ironic. A few people might spend it, but for those that do, it simply means that they already have enough money to play with as is.
    You see, this will not work. It would work if everyone took the money and spent it, but that is not going to happen. If you want to fix the economy, its a very simple thing:
    1) Everyone who is here illegally, deport them
    2) Heavily fine business who employ illegals
    3) Heavily tax/ apply higher tariffs to business’ who close up shop here in the USA and move overseas where labor is $5/day
    he problem with the economy is that there are not enough good paying jobs. All of those have been shipped overseas. The only opportunities for people now is the low-paying service industry jobs.

  24. warf0x0r says:

    I’m gonna buy me a hammock!!!

  25. Beerad says:

    @joeblevins: “Don’t make enough to pay taxes” = “dirtbag”?

    I weep for your soul.

  26. ClayS says:

    The good thing is that the more time the government spends pissing around with MLB and Roger Clemens, the less time they have to spend money!

  27. kimsama says:

    @Erwos: He didn’t say that the cash was trickle-down, only that this stimulus was necessitated because trickle-down wasn’t working.

    Try reading the post before criticizing. ^_^

  28. ClayS says:

    Repayment of personal debt is good for the economy because that capital that goes back to the banks becomes available for business expansion. Also, when you lessen your personal debt, you can use the money you would have been paying in interest for better purposes.

    Deporting all illegal aliens isn’t realistic. Also, the whole illegal immigration issue isn’t politically popular, so don’t count on too much being done about it. The issue is probably about neutral in terms of the economy anyway (not that makes it OK).

  29. ToadKillerDog says:

    @Beerad: Don’t weep for a soul joeblevins obviously doesn’t have.

  30. sir_eccles says:

    @stinkingbob: There’s plenty of evidence that illegal aliens are rather good for the economy. They work hard in jobs other people are too lazy to do and spend at least some of their money in local businesses. There are a number of news reports of towns which enacted anti illegal alien legislation having their local economy die as all the customers ran off.

  31. Jobu71x says:

    I agree with your opinion of the immigrant problem in the U.S.

    However, Companies don’t offshore the good paying jobs, they offshore the jobs that Americans are too stupid and lazy to perform. If we tax these companies that are outsourcing labor, where do you think that money will come from? Those costs will be passed back to us. If someone wants a higher paying job; work harder, educate yourself, and quit whining.

    I work for a major outsourcer, and I am always amazed at the universal vehemence people have for offshoring work.

  32. AD8BC says:

    @ClayS: Agree RE: repaying debt. it’s always a good thing.

    Also agree that deportation isn’t realistic. However, they shouldn’t be here… I have a plan for dealing with illegal aliens (no, it doesn’t involve shooting them): Give them an incentive to go home, and invite them back. I have resigned myself that we probably do need their labor, maybe not as much as we actually employ them, but at least to an extent.

    So, here is my proposal:
    1) Create a guest worker program. Limit work stints in the US to 2 years in length.
    2) Provide a mechanism for mexicans to apply for their two year periods. Caveats: They MUST apply at a US embassy (or some sort of field office) in person IN MEXICO. If there are more applicants than job openings then create a lottery system.
    3) Deport illegals as we find them (as we should be doing now). If you are caught in the US illegally, you forfeit any possiblity of getting a work permit in the US in the future.
    4) Allow illegals to return to Mexico over existing legal border crossings, no questions asked… so they don’t have to go home over the desert. Again, they must return home to apply for the program.
    5) Pay them minimum wage, and charge taxes on their wages, including Social Security taxes (but not make them eligible for Social Security when they retire/become disabled (hey, we have to pay for Social Security anyway, let them help).
    6) They would not be eligible for welfare, food stamps, government services, etc. with the exception of public education of their children IN ENGLISH, considering that they are paying property taxes (indirectly, through rent to landlords).
    7) While putting this program together, BUILD THAT DAMN FENCE. Not a virtual fence, not a pretend fence, but a double fence with an access road in between. Hell, we could even employ our guest workers to build it.

  33. AD8BC says:

    @sir_eccles: which is why I am not opposed to a formal, documented guest worker program. With limits.

  34. jmschn says:

    i thought this was pretty much an advance on your refund when you do your taxes in 2009 for the 2008 year??

  35. fastm3driver says:

    @AD8BC: Why not just register them and make a new tax that has no SS benefits and a flat 50% tax. Deport all unregistered.
    Simple, real Americans would be making more money in the same job, you wouldn’t have to try deporting 20 million people, and they would all be registered. It would make coming to work in America less appealing then before but to bad enough where people would not register, it would add to the economy and would not burden SS.

  36. llryuujinll says:

    @stinkingbob: I’m not what good paying jobs you’re talking about. The only good paying jobs i’ve seen being offshored is in the IT sector, and not many people can do the job.

  37. camille_javal says:

    On immigration – I find it interesting that, since Spain instituted a liberal immigration policy, their economy has started doing a lot better. Maybe part of our problem is spending so much money trying to stymie a river with a yardstick – it seems sort of like a bottomless pit we’ll just keep throwing money into, insisting that something will work…. (deja vu US drug policy)

    Just google “spain immigration economy” for a number of reports and articles to come up.

  38. @camille_javal: The problem isnt the illegal immigrants per se. Its not even completely the extra drain many of them can cause on local infrastructure (education, medical, spanish interpreters) though thats part of it. Its also that they are sending their income out of the country. If you have 5 million workers each sending $200 a month out of the country thats suddenly a Billion dollars a month not spent in this country. Thats a big impact on the economy.

  39. mac-phisto says:

    @Erwos: i think his point is that if trickle-down worked so well, the gov’t wouldn’t have to subsidize it by cutting everyone welfare checks.

  40. stinkingbob says:

    To Clays:
    “Repayment of personal debt is good for the economy because that capital that goes back to the banks becomes available for business expansion.”
    We are partly in a recession because of the banks and their terrible lending practices/buying up of debt from 3rd party lenders. Banks thought this was an easy way to get free money, but it screwed the country cuz so many people were given loans that the lender/bank knew they could not repay.
    2) There is no conclusive report that illegal immigration is good for the country. This is rhetoric that pro-illegals put up. Know, when I say illegal, please don’t think solely Mexicans. There are illegal Chinese, Canadians, Filipinos, Cubans, etc that are living here.
    Now, your comment about Illegals doing jobs that lazy Americans don’t want to do is bull. You should be shot.
    This kind of thinking is bad for the USA. You see, employers are paying below minimum wages to illegals. So, when an American applies for the same job, who do you think will get hired? The illegal. Now, imagine that you have nothing but illegals working at say, a janitorial company. It may seem like no American wants the job, but infact they do, its just that the company would rather hire cheap, un-taxed labor.

  41. aikoto says:

    Expect a lot of mail theft to occur in the near future…

  42. stinkingbob says:

    Spain has not experienced what the USA has experienced, soyou can’t compare the 2. I bet you that if 12 million illegals were going into spain annually sucking up jobs from Spanish citizens, that liberal policy of theirs would change instantly. I wonder if Spain has to give illegals free healthcare and education? Do they give them free housing? If so, then I am going to move to Spain as an illegal and let the Spanish government take care of me!

  43. Erskine says:


  44. dwneylonsr says:

    Keep in mind that this money is simply an advance against your next years return.

  45. dwneylonsr says:

    Hey Ben, I want a delete function for any comments I make. :) I see you addressed this in an early post.

  46. shadow735 says:

    You have to do the truffle shuffle before you get your rebate.

  47. stinkingbob says:

    Here is a plan that will work:
    1)Close the borders. Don’t allow immigration into this country until we can get our economic problem worked out.
    The USA does not have enough jobs for all the people living here legally
    2)Deport all illegals. It’s easy to do. And I don’t mean checking everyone’s ID that matches a profile. Simple things like a traffic stop, employers veryfing SS numbers with ICE, etc
    3)When the USA has its economy under control, we can open the borders, but ONLY to people who have a skill that can contribute to the well-being of the USA.

  48. mac-phisto says:

    @stinkingbob: you really have no idea about this stuff do you? do you know how the united states became an economic powerhouse? immigrants. they mined our coal, built our railroads, worked in our textile mills, stoked the coke fires, & built the skyscrapers that stand as testament to our power.

    blaming others less fortunate than you for the troubles you experience is simple ignorance. an entire city of illegal immigrants drains this economy far less than a single corporation that moves their production facilities abroad so that the executive staff & board of directors can pocket 1/2 billion dollars in bonuses.

  49. Elcheecho says:

    The job market isn’t like some giant game of musical chairs where there is a fixed amount of jobs. An immigrant with a job does not mean one less job for citizens; by that logic, Virginia (where I live) should bar anyone from Maryland from working in here, since obviously that means less jobs for Virginians.

    Read a book.

  50. RothRandom says:

    Sweet. Will be relaxing soon.

  51. @stinkingbob: “Now, your comment about Illegals doing jobs that lazy Americans don’t want to do is bull. You should be shot.”

    Apparently you are completely ignorant of the realities of agriculture. The crackdown on illegals has already cut deeply into major difficulties with labor-intensive crops getting harvested. There simply ARE NOT enough people willing to do the job, citizen, immigrant, legal, illegal, or green with purple spots. Some estimates show various California fruit crops going 50% unharvested, and California has far fewer problems than, say, Michigan in terms of getting enough farm labor. They’re hiring anyone who’ll show up. Nobody shows up.

    (The currently-proposed guest-worker programs, btw, will not bring enough agricultural workers into the country for our agricultural system to function properly.)

  52. AD8BC says:

    @fastm3driver: I understand where you are coming from and I would probably compromise to that position…

    However, if we make them go home first and get in the back of the line, they will not have been rewarded for their original crime of crossing in the first place.

    I guess that would be amnesty, but only if they went home and entered the race from the starting point…

    I guess we took this way off topic, and for that I apologize… but I sure appreciate your thoughtful response.

  53. AD8BC says:

    @stinkingbob: I agree with your plan and I would, in fact prefer it. My resignation came from the fact that it will never pass. In my plan (jeez, I sound like a candidate) we encourage them to return home voluntarily, which is a whole lot cheaper than deporting them ourselves… but I am certainly not opposed to doing so based on traffic stops, employer crackdowns, etc.

    I would prefer, first of all, that we satisfy our open jobs for those who are citizens first. Even those on welfare that can perform simple tasks could do some of those jobs that the rest of us “will not do”. I would be more than happy to allow the government to pay for childcare, etc. for those on welfare who can work at one of these jobs as a condition of receiving welfare benefits.

    Of course, those with disabilities, etc. that prevent them from working would still get needed welfare benefits.

  54. stinkingbob says:

    you really have no idea about this stuff do you? do you know how the united states became an economic powerhouse? immigrants. they mined our coal, built our railroads, worked in our textile mills, stoked the coke fires, & built the skyscrapers that stand as testament to our power.
    Yes, that is true, but don’t forget that it was a much different time back then as compared to now. For you see, there was such a thing as American-Made. There were steel manufacturing plants and car manufacturing plants back. Janitorial, hotel-related, construction jobs were done by Americans. Also, the immigrants that came to the USA back then had a SKILL. Meaning they could contribute to the well being of the country. Todays immigrants don’t.

    El Chicho, you wrote:
    “An immigrant with a job does not mean one less job for citizens; “
    This statement makes no sense. Suppose I am am employer with only 1 job opening. There are 2 candidates. I give a candidate the job. That means that there is one candidate without a job. SO, where is the job for that candidate elcheeco? Does this job magically appear?

  55. stinkingbob says:

    The thing is, they will never voluntarily go home so something has to be done about it now. I am just concerned about the young people growing up. It used to be that they would get summer jobs at Mc DOnalds or be interns at companies. Now, these positions are being filled by illegals who will do the work cheaper and be off the books so the company does not pay taxes. So, what do young teens do in their spare time as a result-get into trouble.

  56. thirdeye213 says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I see you fall into a trap common to advocates of illegal labor: failure to trust the free market. If you have a job such as fruit picking, and your current compensation package doesn’t attract sufficient labor you must increase said compensation. For some reason commenters here always take the capitalistic stance in regard to businesses selling things, but not for hiring. Yesterday’s story about Best Buy upping the sale price for a popular laptop was explained by this, so why are people unable to see it applied to the labor force?

  57. ClayS says:

    “Now, your comment about Illegals doing jobs that lazy Americans don’t want to do is bull. You should be shot.”

    Where exactly did I make any comment like that, idiot?

  58. AD8BC says:

    @stinkingbob: Yeah, you’re probably right…

    I had it in my head that if they went home and applied and came back legally they could live without feeling like there was a price on their head. At least until their work term was up.

    Some of the more logical ones might take up the opportunity. But you’re right, it would only really work if we stepped up enforcement and started deporting more. They might get scared and go back home and then apply for guest status.

    I just really don’t like the idea of giving any kind of status to those here illegally and putting them in front of the line.

  59. RagingBoehner says:

    @dwneylonsr: While it’s technically an advance on next years return, you will be getting a tax credit next year, so instead of getting the credit next year when you file, you get it this year.

    Which is to say, it doesn’t count against your “return.” In fact, if you do your taxes right, you shouldn’t have a return in the first place

  60. stinkingbob says:

    Clays, you pinche puto de mierda, you didn’t make that comment. It was from someone else. I just bunched the comments into a single post.

  61. SangreDeThor says:

    @AD8BC: I made 25,000 and paid federal taxes.

  62. SkyeBlue says:

    I wonder how much it really would impact our economy if suddenly ALL the illegal aliens were just somehow magically deported back to their own countries? I am sure many more illegals pay into Social Security right now than will ever be able to collect it. Those who do not work for cash under the table get federal taxes deducted, but many never file returns out of fear, so that is money that is never refunded. How much would prices go up on EVERYTHING????

    My daughter’s boyfriend is from Mexico but not here legally, and they have 2 small children. He works trimming trees for an electric company and makes very good money. And on many weekends he works side jobs. Some of his relatives HAVE chosen to go back to Mexico and apply to get into this country legally, but it is out of fear. To me what kind of sense would it make to have him go back now and for their family to lose his income from a job he has had for many years? His family have done very good for themselves and run their own businesses. None I have met just sit around all day thinking of ways to cheat on their food stamps and welfare. To be honest I have seen that more with the Anglo people I know. No “you are being racist” comments please, I am White. My neighbor across the street, a White single mother of 3 sells HER food stamps for beer, so go figure.

    I think the Government likes it when they can keep us preoccupied by having us hating and fearing each other, then we aren’t concentrating on the REAL and serious problems this country has!

  63. AD8BC says:

    @SangreDeThor: I don’t know, i haven’t seen any information about the tax rebate for dependants. Sorry.

  64. veal says:

    “You should be shot.”

    Thanks, Pol Pot. You & Stalin did great work solving the economic problems of your respective countries. Thanks so much for weighing in here at Consumerist, and do enjoy Hell.

  65. mac-phisto says:


    Also, the immigrants that came to the USA back then had a SKILL. Meaning they could contribute to the well being of the country. Todays immigrants don’t.

    again, no. they didn’t recruit skilled chinese laborers to build the railroads – they loaded them up on ships & held them in near-slavelike conditions to get them to drive stakes. irish/german/russian/slavic miners didn’t know how to mine, they were given an axe & told they’d make enough to buy bread at the company store if they filled the wagon before sundown.

    this country’s industry was built with the sweat of unskilled immigrant labor. the only thing that has changed is our immigration policy. “give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free…” is now, “give us your educated, your productive, your well-to-do longing to be richer…”

    one could argue that a closed-door immigration policy is the very reason that there is no more american industry. industry has moved elsewhere b/c cheap, readily-available labor doesn’t exist.

    i don’t support the current state of immigration for a wide variety of reasons. but trying to stop people from coming here? throwing them in jail or deporting them if they come anyway? come on. we’ve been trying that for 3 decades. isn’t it obvious that it’s not working? create a way for foreigners to come here, become documented, pay taxes & work towards citizenship regardless of their level of skill.

  66. mac-phisto says:


    I think the Government likes it when they can keep us preoccupied by having us hating and fearing each other, then we aren’t concentrating on the REAL and serious problems this country has!

    exactly. except, it’s not limited to the government. you’re welcome to include anyone in power there.

  67. AD8BC says:

    @mac-phisto: Yes.

    But don’t let the ones that are currently here illegally jump to the front of the line. allow them to sign up but in person in Mexico.

  68. foxbat2500 says:

    This is not a tax rebate. This is a loan from the Chinese that our children’s children will have to pay.

  69. SkyeBlue says:

    STINKINGBOB: “Also, the immigrants that came to the USA back then had a SKILL. Meaning they could contribute to the well being of the country. Todays immigrants don’t.”

    Well that actually isn’t true, not for all of them. I’ve traced my family history back in this country to 1796 and most of my relatives who came from Europe worked as farmers, loggers and maids once they arrived here. Many of them according to census records could neither read nor write! One signed a paper renouncing his allegiance to the Queen of England with an X!

    They also probably worked themselves to death at a young age doing jobs not many other people wanted to do.

    The more things change the more they stay the same.

  70. Buran says:

    @stinkingbob: Advocating violence against a commenter you disagree with?


  71. shadow735 says:

    @stinkingbob: While I am against illegal immigration, not all illegals are without skills or knowledge of trades. This country was founded on people with nothing in their pockets but big dreams and the drive to achieve them.
    When you have that even if you dont come with skills you can achieve your dreams and those dreams can add to this countries greatness.
    The kicker to this is you have to be driven and have the passion to do what is needed to achieve those dreams.
    One thing to remember is with every group there are bad apples.

  72. SkyeBlue says:

    I saw a documentary a few months back on either LINK or FSTV that followed a group of 4 men who were coming from Mexico to the US illegally. A very dangerous and hard experience. In the end 3 got caught by the Border patrol (One got away) and sent back to Mexico, one decided to stay in Mexico and not attempt the trip again. But 2 of them attempted make the trip again but froze to death while sleeping outside in the Winter.

    It kind of makes you wonder what kind of poverty people must be trying to escape from. What would we do if it were US in THEIR situation? Would we stay or would we try to make a better life for ourselves and our families? I think POVERTY is what is the real crime, not being an illegal alien.

  73. foxmajik says:

    If you have one of something everyone wants it’s valuable, but if you give everyone six hundred of those things, your one thing is no longer as valuable.

    Handing out cash is not the way to fix an economical problem.

  74. Jesse in Japan says:

    I feel kind of stupid for even bothering to ask, but is there any chance an American ex-patriot living in Japan who didn’t pay US income taxes can get the refund?

  75. destijl says:

    @SangreDeThor: I was wondering the same thing. I’m also 22 and I work full time and go to school part time, and I’m on my parents medical insurance still, so they claim me. I pay my own school expenses even. But the answer is no. We don’t get anything. I think it’s bullshit that we pay income taxes and don’t get a refund, and then people who make less than 3k still get 300 bucks. From Yahoo Finance:

    “In many cases, there is a rebate bonus for children. But not for all kids.

    For rebate purposes, a qualifying child is one who is younger than 17. That means that taxpayers who claim an older college student as a dependent won’t get the extra money.

    Neither will college kids themselves be happy. The rebate bill specifically makes dependents, or even those who could be claimed as a dependent, ineligible for the rebate. So students who can be claimed by parents won’t get rebates even if they held jobs outside class that otherwise would have qualified them for the money.

    “The kid may have $3,000 in income, but his parents are paying much more for his college expenses so he’s a dependent,” says Bob D. Scharin, RIA senior tax analyst form Thomson Tax & Accounting. “It does seem unfair that the child can’t claim the rebate.”