Thursday, March 27, 2008

AARP, NCOA launch stimulus-payment tool

The AARP Foundation and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) lhave aunched a user-friendly online tool to simplify the economic stimulus payment application process for millions of Americans who are not otherwise required to file income tax returns. The online tool can be found at www.aarp.org/stimulus.

The online tool, developed with expertise from AARP Tax Aide (an AARP Foundation tax assistance and preparation program offered in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service), is the latest effort in AARP’s campaign to help older Americans learn how to apply for stimulus payments and protect themselves from fraud.

Earlier this year, AARP helped lead efforts in Washington, DC, to expand stimulus eligibility to include approximately 20 million Americans who primarily depend on Social Security, certain railroad retirement income or veterans disability income.

The new online resource allows users to print out a completed economic stimulus form after answering a few simple questions. This tool can also be used by trusted loved ones and volunteers to help those in need without Internet access.

AARP staff and volunteers have been working with the IRS, Social Security Administration, and other organizations to inform and equip the estimated 20 million Americans who are eligible for the stimulus payments but are not otherwise required to file income tax returns. Key tips for filers include:

Applications for the stimulus payments are not subject to the April 15th tax filing deadline. The IRS is accepting stimulus payment forms until the Fall, providing time for individuals to answer any questions and safely file their stimulus applications.

Individuals should beware of stimulus payment scams. Scammers are calling and emailing individuals asking for personal information, including Social Security numbers and bank account information. The IRS never emails or calls tax payers asking for personal information – individuals should not give information to people posing as IRS representatives over the phone or through email.

Resources are available for those who have questions or need help. AARP offers a number of resources on its website including a set of Frequently Asked Questions, printable easy-to-understand instructions for filling out a stimulus application, and the new online tool. AARP Foundation’s Tax Aide volunteers are available online to answer questions throughout the year with more complicated stimulus filings.

To learn more about how to apply for your stimulus payment and help others apply, visit www.aarp.org/stimulus or www.aarp.org/taxaide.

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