OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Thousands of Oklahomans eligible for economic stimulus payments totaling an estimated $24 million have not applied for them.
Those eligible - including more than 13,000 in Oklahoma County alone - still have two months to get their information to the Internal Revenue Service, The Oklahoman reported from its Washington bureau.
The majority who haven't filed for the $300 payments are low-income seniors who haven't had to file tax returns in recent years. Some are apparently nervous that filling out the form required by the IRS to get the stimulus payment means they'll have to maintain a connection to the tax agency.
“We think that's an issue,” IRS spokeswoman Nancy Mathis said.
David Stell, an IRS spokesman based in Oklahoma City, has been traveling across the state trying to get the message out about the stimulus payments.
“The folks we are looking for specifically now are the people who are not used to filing tax returns” because they don't make enough money to have a tax liability, Stell said. “What we're doing now is reaching out to make sure no one misses out.”
When passing the $150 billion stimulus package this year to boost the economy, Congress included Social Security and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who had at least $3,000 in qualifying income in 2007.
Using its own records and information from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the IRS compiled a list in the spring of about 20 million Americans who didn't file tax returns last year and mailed them a package that included information about the payments and a 1040A form to fill out.
The law requires that, even if people didn't have enough income to owe taxes, they fill out a tax form to receive the stimulus payment. The payments are $300 for an individual and $600 for couples filing joint returns.
The IRS has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for people to file, since the law requires that stimulus checks be sent out by the end of this year.