Economic stimulus check, take 2: You could still get money if you've hit hard times

If you didn't get a piece of the economic stimulus pie the first time around this year because you either made too much or too little, you might still be able to get in on it.

To be eligible for a check in 2008, taxpayers had to have a minimum amount of earned income or Social Security retirement income on their 2007 tax returns. There was also a maximum in place to stop high-income taxpayers from receiving a check.

But even if they got shut out on their 2007 returns, taxpayers might still be able to get some money based on 2008 income numbers. So if your situation has changed dramatically -- say you got laid off, or something like that -- you could qualify! What matters is if your 2008 income falls within the parameters set up by the IRS. This is going to mean a little boost for those who may have lost a job or otherwise had lower-than-normal income this year.

How much does the IRS think will still go out related to this twist in the law? Another $10 billion above what's already been paid out. If you didn't receive a check this year but are eligible based on your 2008 income, you'll claim a credit on your 2008 tax return. You won't receive a separate check for it.

Uncle Sam seems to think that lots of you will be eligible to receive this benefit in 2008, so don't overlook it. With slightly higher unemployment numbers this year, it's likely that a number of people will have reduced incomes that will qualify them for the economic stimulus package.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.


Your resource on tax filing
Tax season is here! Check out the Tax Center on AOL Finance for all the tips and tools you need to maximize your return.
Filing Your Taxes Late
What do you do if you can't meet the IRS filing deadline? Learn more about filing a tax extension, late payment and late filing penalties, and what to do if you can't pay your taxes.
Read MoreBrought to you
How to File an Amended Tax Return with the IRS
Did you make a mistake on your tax return or realize you missed out on a valuable tax deduction or credit? You can file an amended tax return to make the correction. Filing an amended tax return with the IRS is a straightforward process. This article includes step-by-step instructions for when and how to amend your tax return using Form 1040-X.
Read MoreBrought to you
Taxes 2021: 7 Upcoming Tax Law Changes
Tax Year 2021 will likely bring some surprises, but some of its changes are already planned. Here's what you need to know about some of the planned phase-outs, changes and inflation adjustments the IRS will present for taxes in 2021.
Read MoreBrought to you
Ways to Increase Your Tax Refund You Never Thought About
Laying the groundwork for a tax refund requires some simple tax planning, a little research and some forethought. Reviewing your tax status, consulting your spouse when filling out your W-4s and taking advantage of several tax credits can help you increase your tax refund. TurboTax also can help decide which credits can get you the biggest refund.
Read MoreBrought to you