Reasons for Feeling Unstimulated

May 9, 2008

“The check is in the mail.”

We’ve all heard that (or said it). When a debtor says that, he normally means that the check is nowhere near being in the mail. In the case of the IRS’s so-called stimulus check, here are two reasons why you might not get it:

  • The check is actually in the mail, but it’s on its way back to the IRS because you’ve moved since filing your 2007 tax return.

    File Form 8822 to rectify the matter, the IRS equivalent of a postal change of address. This forwarding problem is a hazard of every IRS mailing, and it’s one of the reasons that John Edwards was wrong to suggest during his presidential campaign that the IRS should start filling out our tax returns for us, then mailing them to us for a signature. Alas, that bad idea has been embraced more recently by Sen. Obama.

  • You owe the IRS or someone else more than they owe you.

    Unpaid alimony, child support, and of course back taxes will all be deducted from your stimulus check. So your check could be reduced to zero. That won’t prevent the economic stimulus from happening, but someone else will perform the stimulative operation (spending).

The IRS has explained all the stimulus check scenarios in a reasonably clear section on their web site.

Was this page helpful to you?


Thank You!

The Tax Foundation works hard to provide insightful tax policy analysis. Our work depends on support from members of the public like you. Would you consider contributing to our work?

Contribute to the Tax Foundation

Related Articles