Not everyone gets to stimulate the economy

FrustrateEconomic stimulus payments are flying into taxpayers' mailboxes, but not everyone is happy.

A provision designed to keep illegal immigrants from receiving economic stimulus payments apparently is having some unintended consequences. Namely,  it's keeping thousands of taypayers -- people who otherwise would qualify without issue -- from receiving their checks.

The provision requires taxpayers to have a Social Security number to qualify for the payments. Thousands of U.S. taypayers are being denied payments under this provision because they filed joint returns with spouses "whose immigration status doesn't allow them to have a Social Security number," according to this Associated Press article. "Among them are some of the 288,000 U.S. troops stationed overseas who may have married a foreigner."

The IRS issued a clarification on April 14, 2008, suggesting that those who wanted to receive the payments might want to consider filing separately. Trouble is, the benefits of filing jointly often outweigh the $600 an affected taxpayer would receive by filing separately.

Is this a case of unfair bureaucracy, or just the price we pay for reasoned legislation?


Bill Sheridan