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Ensuring South Jersey Residents Receive their Tax Rebate

Op-Ed

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Ensuring South Jersey Residents Receive Their Tax Rebate

As you have likely heard, the forecast for the nation's economic growth is not as positive as it was in previous years. Most Americans are just now beginning to feel the financial pressures of an economic slowdown which, unfortunately, has long been known to countless South Jersey families. Recently, President Bush signed into law a bill that will provide a one-time rebate for more than 130 million Americans and tax breaks to small businesses. I supported this economic stimulus package because it represents a first step in helping South Jersey families get through the financial challenges that exist and lie ahead, but additional action needs to be taken.

As outlined in the economic stimulus package, a tax rebate of $600 per individual ($1,200 per married couple filing together) will be sent to those residents who make under $75,000 annually ($150,000 per married couple annually) and have filed their 2007 tax returns. These one-time checks will not be taxed in next year's filings, and parents with children will receive an additional $300 per child under the plan approved by Congress. Available only to eligible, legal residents of the United States, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will begin to distribute the checks in May and continue throughout the summer.

It is critically important for eligible South Jersey residents to be aware that they will not receive a rebate check if they do not file a 2007 tax return. This is especially important for eligible seniors and veterans who receive more than $3,000 in qualifying income through Social Security checks and/or veterans' benefits such as disability compensation, pension or survivors' benefits. Many eligible seniors and veterans are not typically required to file a federal tax return, but will have to file a 2007 statement in order to receive a rebate of at least $300. Likewise, low-income workers who have an earned income above $3,000 but do not regularly file with the IRS must also submit their 2007 tax returns in order to receive their rebate checks, though they will not be subject to an additional tax bill.

It is also imperative that tax filers be diligent in protecting their sensitive information during this tax season. Taxpayers should be aware of several scams currently targeting consumers anticipating standard refunds or the one-time tax rebates. Email and telephone scams that use the IRS name and claim to provide quicker returns are actually seeking to steal the victim's personal and financial information to commit identity theft. Such attempts have already been reported across the country, including right here in South Jersey. If you or someone you know believes that they have been targeted by one of these scams, I strongly encourage you to contact the IRS at their hotline, 1-800-366-4484, or my Mays Landing office at 609-625-5008 or toll-free at 1-800-471-4450.

I believe these tax rebates should be viewed as only the first step in helping hard-working families and growing our nation's economy. South Jersey families need more than short-term fixes; they need to be empowered to make their own fiscal choices without the burden of unnecessary taxes and, thus, allow you to keep the greatest share of your hard-earned money. While Trenton continues to ignore this reality by expanding the tax burden on residents, I can and will continue to fight against additional federal taxes. It is for this reason that I support making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent and the elimination of the death penalty. Going forward, I will continue to advocate for common-sense economic policies that promote and protect the interests of South Jersey taxpayers.


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