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Veterans and other retirees might be missing out on federal economic stimulus money, according to the U.S. Navy Legal Service Office in the Pacific.

Most taxpayers who filed a 2007 tax return this year received a separate $600 individual check plus $300 for each dependent child under the Bush administration’s economic stimulus plan.

To receive the payment, taxpayers must file a return. But many retirees, including veterans, are not required to file tax returns and therefore might not have been issued the stimulus payment, according to Capt. Greg Belanger, Legal Service office commander.

But it’s not too late; tax returns for 2007 can be filed up to Oct. 15 with the Internal Revenue Service.

"Keep in mind that filing a return for the sole purpose of establishing eligibility for the payment does not impact your tax situation in any way," Belanger said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. "There will be no tax due that was not due before, no tax on the supplemental payment, and no obligation to file in the future unless your tax situation changes."

Those who are not required to file a tax return but want the stimulus payment may file with the IRS for free online at: www.irs.gov. The stimulus payment is supplemental to a person’s tax refund and will be made separately, according to Legal Service.

Servicemembers married to foreign nationals initially had been blocked from receiving the checks unless both spouses had Social Security numbers. But lawmakers corrected that oversight in June — specifically pointing to overseas military marriages.

The IRS has not accounted for approximately 25 percent of retirees and veterans who might be entitled to the stimulus payment and plans to send form packets and instructions to as many as it can identify, the Navy said. So far, more than 112 million payments totaling more than $91 billion have been made.

Servicemembers, veterans and dependents seeking free legal assistance to help with tax questions can find their nearest Legal Assistance office by visiting legalassistance.law.af.mil.


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