To qualify for the 2008 federal tax stimulus check, you must have filed a tax return for fiscal year 2007, according to the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, you must have earned at least $3,000 during 2007. However, certain people could meet this income requirement through other means, such as those on railroad retirement, Social Security and other benefits.
Those who earned at least $3,000 and had zero tax liability received a payment of $300, according to Bargaineering. If you earned $3,000 and paid some taxes, you got $600. If you earned between $75,000 and $87,000 you received 5 percent less per $1,000 over $75,000--those over $87,000 were left out. For couples, amounts are doubled, and each child added another $300 to the person's stimulus check for single and joint filers.
Due to the success of the stimulus checks in 2008, the IRS extended the program to 2009. However, this was only meant for those who did not file in 2008 because they assumed they were ineligible. A very small number of people received a second stimulus check, but only if they did not get their full amount in 2008.
Overall, the U.S. economy saw almost immediate benefits from the 2008 stimulus checks. According to "The Wall Street Journal," the typical family increased their spending on goods by about 3.5 percent in the following fiscal quarter. In addition, purchases on luxury goods, such as televisions, rose by 2.4 percent. The average person spent the 2008 rebate a bit faster than the previous one, in 2001.
Unlike past rebates, the 2008 federal stimulus checks were not an advance on the following year's taxes, according to Bargaineering. This means that even if you received too much after an adjusted return, you did not owe the IRS. Alternatively, if you did not get your full rebate, the IRS simply lowered your next year's tax burden.
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