Is the stimulus package a tax refund, or temporary lowering of the tax bracket?

Assuming a person qualified for the proposed stimulus package, how will that affect
2007 tax returns? 2008 tax returns?
I understand it will not affect tax returns- my interpretation is the
gov't is temporily adjusting the tax brackets so everyone has $1200 more to spend (married) or $600 more to spend (single) assuming they are under the income cap.
Some media is reporting this is an advance of the 2008 tax return. If this is the case, someone which only gets a $200 refund would then owe the government $1000 6-8 months later.
In addition, some reports suggest this is deficit spending, which implies they are lowering taxes, not giving an early tax return. What do the people here understand this stimulus to be?
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How does the media suggest the gov't is going to take it back on the 2008 tax return? Are there going to be changes in deductions, credits, or tax rates as a result of this stimulus package (not a rhetorical question)?
P.S. - I have chosen to wait for the dust to settle before really jumping in, so I am, admittedly, not up to speed on the issue.
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I do not know about your sources. The several I have read say the government will literally be sending checks out. You should have yours (if you qualify, and I am betting you do) by summer's end. Just a few of many articles reporting on this:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/washington/25irs.html?ref=business
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/washington/25fiscal.html?ref=business
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/opinion/25krugman.html?ref=opinion
I can't remember how this is reported on 2008 tax returns. I do know that it's not a bait and switch maneuver. That is, the gov. is not going to take the money right back when your 2008 tax return is due. You will keep most or all of it, tax free.
It's technically a tax rebate, by the way, not a tax refund. Meaning you pocket the check the fed gov is going to send you. Or, preferably, you spend it, according to Congress and the President.
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I seem to recall that last time around they added a refundable tax credit for everyone. If you recieved the check in the mail, then it just cancelled out, but if for some reason you didn't get the check (perhaps you hadn't previously filed taxes), this gave you the extra credit when you filed.
If it's done this way again, it really does translate into $300, $600, $1200, etc. above and beyond any tax refund you would normally recieve (and therefore also an extra burden on the federal budget).
wrote:

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Which should do a good job of stimulating the economy of China. -- Doug
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I just read an article on CNN about the finished stimulus package:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/08/economic.stimulus/index.html

"The checks are an advance on next year's refunds, and most, if not all of the money, will be deducted from taxpayers' refunds in 12 months' time."
This is discouraging to me. I spend a good amount of time every December working on our tax withholding. The goal, of course, is to set things up so that we don't get a refund (or end up owing more taxes) come the following April. But now it sounds like I'm going to get a $1500 check in May and end up owing $1500 next April.
Well, I guess I can earn some interest on the money in the mean time. Savings accounts and money markets are returning, what, 3% now? Hopefully that'll be enough to keep up with inflation. :-)
--Bill
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Correction. That's what the article USED to say. Honestly, I copied and pasted the text straight from CNN.com (you didn't expect a lazy bum like me to actually TYPE all that text, did you ;-)). But now that line is omitted. So maybe we won't have to pay back the money after all.
--Bill
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Bill Woessner wrote:

I can't find that in the article you linked -- although I can't imagine anything else that the checks would be, unless the treasury is just going to print more money to cover the checks and let resulting dilution of the money supply (inflation) pay for it. You *know* they are not going to reduce spending by that amount.
Bob
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The government will cover it by borrowing the money (increasing the deficit), they don't need to print it. -- Doug
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Of course the above is a falsehood.
More importantly, you really can't imagine ways the government (and so taxpayers) will ultimately pay for these rebates?
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Elle wrote:

They'll either raise taxes, borrow the money, or reduce spending. There's not a whole lot of options. And since the borrowed money has to be paid back eventually, there's really only 2 options -- borrowing just postpones the day of reckoning, unless they are counting on paying back the bonds with worthless inflated dollars.
(I'll probably use my check to make an estimated tax payment, and encourage Wife to use hers to pay down her credit cards. She's gonna hate that.)
Bob
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On how the government will "pay" for the impending tax rebates:

I'd add one more general one: Enough stimulus takes place that federal revenue increases. I think this is not likely, but I am noting it for the sake of more completeness.
Aside: I think threads like this are important to soothe the beast of weary, less experienced investors, planning for retirement. The government is not the Mob when it comes to the economy, though some may argue, humorously or cynically or even with religious fervor, it seems like it at times.
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They changed the tax law so you will most likely owe $1500 (or whatever it is) less in taxes for this tax year. Come April 2009, you would be due a $1500 refund, if it weren't for the fact that you already received it around May 2008.
Xho
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