The IRS hasn't published their calculator yet, and I have been reading about lots of people trying to figure out what to do with line 70 on their 1040 (ie. the famous RRC that is causing probably more time wasted than was worth the money that was sent out last year.

So, I wrote a calculator this morning.  I went through a bunch of cases, so I think I got all of them, but of course, who knows, with all of the tax tricks, etc. if my understanding of the credit is how it actually works.

And if the IRS ever gets around to actually publishing their calculator, it will presumably be better than mine.  Have fun.

Posted by Jon Daley on February 17, 2009, 1:41 pm | Read 74252 times
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Want to thank you for writing this Recovery Rebate Caculator. I noticed also it was not on on the IRS website either just that is comming.

Well I did my parents taxes online at from one of the efilers listed on the website.

I used them last year (2007 return) for my parents return and was satisfied.

When I did their 2008 return with that same online site this year. I noticed it automatically added to line 70 600. Of couse I didn't question it as the irs says they can figure it out for you if you mail it in or most online tax software will figure it out for you.

Well this company I have used twice for my retired parents online software determined they were eligible and pluged in the 600 on line 70.

Of course when the direct deposit came in to my parents bank account the refund was reduced from 1993 to 1393 or 600 less. So I went to the irs website and check the status of the return which the explaination was mathmatical error on the Recovery Rebate Calculations.

Afer investigating I determined it was an error by the online efiler I used for my parents return. Of course they won't admit it. Their response was You need to contact the IRS.

I did the worksheet manually and it looked like my parents might get it but one or two of the questions on the worksheet I was unsure of something. Why I wanted the calculator tool from the IRS to use which you know is not up yet.

Glad I found yours and keyed in the the info from my parents online 1040.

I can clearly see why the IRS did removed the 600 added by the online tax software.

I think it was their tax Liabilty was zero, which means they don't get no recovery rebate on line 70. how the online tax software missed that I have no idea. As I explained to my parents as they were thinking they had and extra 600 coming other than their money they normally get back from the taxes they pay on their retirement accounts.

My only regret was my mother was telling other family members who are retired like them about the 600 added on by the online tax software and I think many are going to be upset they didn't get that 600 recovery rebate credit. Guess thats what I get for being lazy and not doing it manually. I normally just key in the forms online and get it over with. Didn't know the tax rules were not correct in the efiler I used.

Posted by Mr. Decal on February 21, 2009, 12:27 pm

Which filer did you use?

How much did your parents get as a check last year? I would have expected retired people to not have any changes in their tax status, etc. so they would have received the full ($1200) as a check last year. Oh, unless their liability was also 0 or close to zero last year, and so they wouldn't have been sent the full amount. Maybe everyone gets $600 no matter what? (nope, I just tried out an example on the calculator, and it came out zero)

Posted by jondaley on February 21, 2009, 12:44 pm

Most people won't qualify for that recovery rebate as many did get the full 1200 on their stimulus last year. However my parents only got 600 for both of them or 300 for each of them on last years stimulus check. For my parents to have recovered the remaining 600 of the 1200 they didn't get they would have had to owe the irs some tax liablity to get it. Since they had a zero tax liablity they automatically are not going to get it based upon the worksheet as you will be plugging in 0. Meaning they didn't pay enough taxes to the govt get the full 1200 in last years stimulus or the possible recovery Rebate on their 2008 return. As for which efiler i used, I prefer not to say as I am upset with them for their recovery rebate caclulator which is done automaticaly without us asking for that rebate put in 600 on the return that the irs denied. Your tool that the irs does not have yet postedon the website sort of cleared up why it was denied. Before I found your tool. I read a few articles on the internet that the IRS is getting alot of returns with this recovery rebate being wrong by most filers. That sad part is I never got the manual forms, I just keeyed in the data off my parents tax documents into their tax software online and print and save the documents for records. The key point is if Seniors don't have any tax liablity on 2007 return and they only got 600 on last year stimulus they will not qualify to get the recovery rebate cause they probably won't have a tax liablity on their 2008 return.

Posted by Mr. Decal on February 22, 2009, 11:16 am

That makes sense. Thanks for explaining in more detail.

I do wonder why the IRS does not have this explained very well - though I suppose that is how most of the tax stuff works - if they made it too easy, they wouldn't have a job any more...

Posted by jondaley on February 22, 2009, 5:44 pm


I would appreciate if someone can clarify me on my situation regarding the rebate recovery credit(RRC).

I already filed my tax return for 2008 on March 30th '09. But today when I was talking to my friend, I realized that I might have made a mistake with RRC. I reviewed and indeed I had made a honest mistake i.e. I had put $600 for RRC, though I wasn't eligible. But alas I have already postal mailed my return.

So my question is:
- How will the IRS deal with this RRC mistake I have made? Will they come after me to punish for that mistake? OR would they simply correct the error i.e. reduce my refund by $600 and send me the refund?
- What do I need to do if anything from my side? Can I simply ignore this mistake and hope the IRS will fix it? OR Should I correct the mistake? If so how do I do that, since I have already mailed the return?

If anyone with experience could share some insights, I would highly appreciate it. I am all tensed and stressed out after realizing that I made the mistake in RRC. It isn't my intention to mess with IRS.

Please share your thoughts. Thanks.

Posted by Larry on April 7, 2009, 9:35 pm

I think that since you are in good company, ie. 70% of early filers, they won't be penalizing anyone, but will simply reduce your refund.

I wouldn't do anything unless they don't notice the mistake. And then, I'd probably want to make really sure that it was a mistake, since I'd expect them to be pretty careful about this particular issue, but then file an amended return once you get your money back.

Posted by jondaley on April 7, 2009, 9:40 pm

ok, thanks for the tip.

Posted by Larry on April 9, 2009, 5:51 pm

I think we might be getting cheated out of our rebate entirely. In 2007, we expected a refund, so we had 3 years to file, and have yet to file, due to a couple of questions we need to ask a tax accountant (lazy, I know). IRS told us it was OK if we missed the rebate filing deadline for tax year 2007, as we could "recover" the amount in 2008. Well, in 2008 we earned a WHOLE LOT LESS than we did in 2007, and now their recovery calculator says we don't qualify because we don't owe tax in 2008. HUH???

In 2007, our AGI was around 156,000, and we owed 13,000 in taxes. When I used rough estimates using the calculator the IRS had posted around the 2007 filing due date, it said we qualified for a $900 rebate.

But in 2008, our AGI is only 29,650, with no tax due, so the "recovery" calculator says we qualify for nothing. Seems we should "recover" what we qualified for in 2007 and never received, not what our 2008 data says.

Does this mean we're out of luck? Isn't this a bait & switch? Everyone was getting rebates based on 2007 data, but now they're basing it on 2008 data, which in our case, is completely disadvantageous. Yet if we had filed 2007 on time (which we were NOT required to do due to our expected refund) we would've had a check sent to us already, and we wouldn't have to refund it due to changed negative circumstances in 2008. But because we didn't file, our changed negative circumstances mean we don't get anything at all?

I hope I'm's particularly upsetting because IRS said we'd get the money no matter when we filed. But the terms have changed. It seems with the lousy economy that there could be many others who had significantly lower AGIs in 2008 vs 2007, who also didn't file in time due to an expected 2007 refund.

Am I mistaken in all of this? Or did we never qualify in the first place due to a high 2007 AGI? I've been unable to find info on what the income limits were for phasing out the rebate, so if anyone knows this, that might help me feel better!

Please help, if anyone knows. Thanks!

Posted by Miss T on June 2, 2009, 6:11 pm

Yeah, you are out of luck (I didn't read your numbers really carefully), but that is how it works. The original check was based on your 2007 data, assuming that data would be reasonably accurate for 2008. If you happened to have too little tax due in 2007, you would have gotten a smaller check, and could get it recalculated on the 2008 return, but it is really using the 2008 data, so you can't go back and say, "if you had used our 2007 data, we would have gotten a check", but we didn't file yet....

So, I guess this gives you a reason to file earlier next time.

If you walk through the rebate calculator paper version (have you tried mine yet? I don't know if mine will show you the details clearly enough - it wasn't really designed for that) you should be able to see if a high AGI would have made your rebate any different. I suspect that you either have one or two "strikes" against you, so you can't get it either way, but I guess maybe you are saying it would psychologically feel better if you made too much money to get it, but I don't think that is the case, though I wasn't looking for that situation, so I don't really know.

Posted by jondaley on June 2, 2009, 10:00 pm

Hey Jon,
just checked the calculator against Janet's worksheet magic, and it gives the same result. However, the only reason it's faster than Janet's worksheet magic is that I already had the result from the Earned Income Worksheet on page 8 of Pub. 972 (because Janet had filled it out). If you added that worksheet to your calculator, that would make it even more useful (although it might begin to slide into geek-cred and overkill territory). Whether you do or not, here's the link to said worksheet: Publication 972.

Posted by Stephan on June 7, 2009, 3:34 pm

Yeah, mostly I agree, as that is how I designed the form, though I was able to make a couple things easier by asking the questions in a different order, and then skipping other, contingent questions, and removing some of the clauses about whether you were married or in the military to make a couple of the questions read easier.

It was mostly just a fun project to do it (and partially to get it done before the IRS, since they had been talking about having it up for months, and it took an hour or two to write it.

Posted by jondaley on June 7, 2009, 7:09 pm

Seems that the calculator is giving incorrect credit amounts. Tried to file it for single but it keeps adding in child tax credit and indicating my credit amount should be 1200 for dependents claimed when i entered 0.

Posted by Mark on February 21, 2014, 4:12 pm

Needs updating. Adds in incorrect info
Posted by Tom on February 21, 2014, 4:13 pm

So, I'm a little suspicious of two comments from the same IP address within the IRS's headquarters with different names within a minute of each other 5 years after this post was relevant. (And I see that if the IRS ever did get a calculator done, it has been removed from the internet).

Does anyone care about this rebate calculator any more?

If you are a real person, what numbers did you enter? I put in single, no children, and various other zeros, and the calculator calculated that there was 0 refund due. I don't remember how this refund worked, since it was so long ago.

If you want help on this, please let me know what numbers you typed in and what answer you think you should have gotten. As far as I know, it is working correctly.

Posted by jondaley on February 21, 2014, 7:55 pm

You haven't been making any negative comments about the President lately, have you? See today's Mallard Fillmore.
Posted by Linda Wightman on February 21, 2014, 8:09 pm
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