Troops married to foreign nationals will see stimulus checks in November
July 5, 2008
WASHINGTON — Troops who missed out on the economic stimulus checks earlier this year because of a legislative quirk won’t receive the money until November, Internal Revenue Service officials announced this week.
Servicemembers married to foreign nationals had been blocked from receiving the checks earlier this year because couples who didn’t both have Social Security numbers were declared ineligible under legislation passed by Congress.
Lawmakers corrected that oversight last month — specifically pointing to overseas military marriages — but IRS spokesman Eric Smith said it will take the agency another four months to sort out who is owed the money and how to distribute it to them.
"They will get a payment, either by direct deposit or check," he said. "Other than filing a tax return, those eligible don’t have to do anything."
The IRS estimates that more than 10,000 military families will receive the additional stimulus payments. The economic stimulus credit, approved by Congress earlier this year as a way to spur consumer spending, gave a $300 to $600 payout per taxpayer for households, plus another $300 for dependent children.
Most U.S.-based taxpayers received their checks in May. Even if citizens did not owe any federal taxes for 2007, they had to file a tax return this year to receive the money.
While the changes mean more money for some military families, the legislation did not make an exception for military retirees or overseas civilian employees with a foreign-born spouse.
The bill passed to correct the foreign spouse issue, titled The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act, also included $2 billion in tax breaks for military personnel, and language allowing tax-free investment of the survivors’ benefit paid out when a servicemember is killed while on duty.
For more information on the stimulus credit changes, visit www.irs.gov.