- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2009


As if filing federal taxes wasn’t already confusing enough, the economic-stimulus payment former President George W. Bush handed to millions of eligible Americans last year - urging them to go out and buy flat-panel TV sets and T-bone dinners - is now causing headaches for taxpayers, accountants and the Internal Revenue Service alike.

According to the IRS, filing errors are starting to show up on this season’s completed tax forms (and you know what that can lead to), so the tax-collecting agency is urging taxpayers and tax preparers to make sense of the rebate they received - or didn’t receive - before filing the 2008 federal returns.

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“Some individuals who did not get the economic-stimulus payment, and a smaller number of those who did, may be eligible for the recovery rebate credit. However, most taxpayers who received the economic-stimulus payment last year will not qualify for the recovery rebate credit on their 2008 federal income tax return,” says the IRS.

Got it?

An early sampling of 2008 tax returns by the IRS “shows about 15 percent have errors involving the recovery rebate credit.”

“Some tax returns erroneously claim the credit, do not claim the proper amount of recovery rebate credit or mistakenly enter the amount of the stimulus payment they received on the recovery rebate credit line.”


Forget about automakers and banking institutions and careless consumers, when and how will the average Joe and Jolene get their hands on a piece of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 being sliced up by President Obama?

”For most taxpayers, the additional credit will automatically start showing up in their paychecks this spring,” assures IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “Since employers and payroll companies will handle this change, people typically won’t need to take any additional action.”

Apart from spending wisely, of course.


The new book “Trailblazer: An Intimate Biography of Sarah Palin,” finally reveals what exactly it was that propelled Mrs. Palin from small-town mayor to state governor to Republican vice-presidential nominee.

Her bun. Singular.

“The updo had been a standard style for Sarah since her days as Wasilla mayor,” writes author Lorenzo Benet, an editor at People magazine. “By keeping her hair in a bun and away from her face, Sarah always believed she could keep someone’s attention during a meeting or a conversation.

“In politics, a candidate may only have a minute, even less, to make an impression. The trick was to make it a lasting one.”


It’s probably better not to identify the federal bureaucrat (from the Department of Labor, no less) who sent the following letter to Inside the Beltway:

”Our political leaders are shouting from the rooftops that we should have fiscal responsibility. President Obama vows today that we will rebuild. Who is this ‘we’? Do our political leaders have mice in their pockets? From what I can see, ‘we’ are tightening up our purse strings, ‘we’ are suffering from overspending in Congress, ‘we’ are trying to survive.

“From what I can see, ‘they’ are spending like it is going out of style, ‘they’ can’t [rein] in their pork projects, ‘they’ are finding more and more excuses to spend our money.

“ ‘We’ need to clean house and elect a new group of individuals. But alas, the American people are too afraid to have real change and stand up for ourselves. As a veteran, I served my country and defended all persons to have a right to be free. I just wish the American people would exercise that right. …

“This is how we will be conquered as a nation, not from exterior threats, but from within. In the immortal words of Pogo, ‘We have met the enemy, and he is us.’ ”

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or email John McCaslin.

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