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Taxing matters

Cynthia E. Griffin- | 3/26/2008, 5 p.m.

Internal Revenue offices in four Southern California counties will be open March 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help people file a tax return in order to receive their Economic Stimulus payment (tax rebate.)
Offices will be open in Kern, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and will be staffed by IRS personnel who can answer questions, and help file tax returns.
In order to receive the rebate, you must file a 2007 tax return, even if you dont normally submit one. Those who do not typically file, can complete form 1040-A. The IRS is sending notices to people to alert them about the rebate, and for those who dont typically file like people on Social Security or veterans, there will be a 1040A-3 tax form included in the packet.
To be eligible for the rebate, a taxpayer must have at least $3,000 of qualifying or earned income to receive either $300 (for singles) or $600 (married filing jointly).
Eligible income includes retirement, disability or survivors benefits from the Social Security Administration; disability compensations, disability pensions or survivors benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs; Tier I benefits from Railroad Retirement; certain combat pay; and earned income from wages, salaries, tips or net earnings fom self-employment that are includible in taxable income.
Eligible taxpayers must also have a valid Social Security number and not be a dependent or eligible to be a dependent on someone elses income tax return.
The local offices participating in the Saturday hours are in El Monte at 9350 E. Flair Dr.; Long Beach at 501 W. Ocean Blvd.; Los Angeles at 300 N. Los Angeles St.; and in Van Nuys at 6230 Van Nuys Blvd.
Those who can not make it to the IRS Saturday office hours but still need help and have annual income of less than $40,000, can obtain help from the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program or the AARP Tax Aide. Reach VITA at (800) 906-9887 or AARP at (888) 227-7669.
Also beware, a number of scams involving the rebate are surfacing. These include receiving a call from the IRS or an e-mail about your payment. The IRS will not contact any taxpayer by phone or e-mail about the rebate or a refund. The agency will send notices out about the need to file a return to obtain a rebate, but taxpayers do not need to respond to these letters. They are for information only.
For more information on the scams, visit the web site http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=178061,00.html or for additional information on general scams go to www.irs.gov or http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=180075,00.html or call (800) 829-1040.