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Refund Checks Due Military Taxpayers Too

Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2001 – If you owed federal income taxes for 2000, a check for up to $600 will be in the mail for you by September.

Lt. Col. Thomas K. Emswiler, executive director of the Armed Forces Tax Council in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy, said military members are as eligible as other taxpayers for the federal refund that's made headlines recently.

In an interview with the American Forces Radio and Television Service, he said the tax bill just signed by the president creates a new tax bracket of 10 percent and made the rate retroactive to Jan. 1. In the past, he said, the lowest tax rate was 15 percent, so the 5 percent reduction will allow most taxpayers to get a refund."

The law provides the mailing of refunds start in July and be complete by the end of September. Plans now call for the first checks to be mailed on July 20 and the last batch on Sept. 28. Taxpayers will receive letters in July explaining how much to expect and when.

Emswiler said anyone who had a federal tax liability for 2000 is eligible providing they weren't claimed as someone else's dependent. "Liability" means owing more the amount of nonrefundable credits, such as education and child care credit. Refundable credits, such as the earned income tax credit, don't count for determining eligibility or the amount of the refund.

"If you filed a joint return last year and had at least $12,000 in taxable income, you'll receive a $600 refund," he said. "That $600 represents the difference between taxing $12,000 at 15 percent and taxing it at 10 percent as provided for under the new law.

"If you filed as head of household last year and had at least $10,000 in taxable income, you'll get a refund of $500. Most taxpayers who filed as single last year and had at least $6,000 in taxable income will get a refund of $300," he continued.

Persons claimed as dependents, such as children, college students and elderly parents, receive no refund. Further, Emswiler said, the refunds he cited are maximums -- persons who reported less than the threshold incomes receive proportionally smaller refunds.

"But as long as you had some tax liability in 2000, you'll get a refund," he noted.

Eligible taxpayers need only ensure the Internal Revenue Service has their correct mailing address, Emswiler said. Service members should notify the post office of moves or file IRS Form 8822, "Change of Address," with the IRS.

The IRS plan is to issue refunds according to the last two digits of taxpayers' Social Security numbers, he remarked. Refunds for those with "00" will be among the earliest checks mailed in July; "99s" will be among the last in September. The process is scheduled to take three months because 96 million checks are involved.

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