By Eric C. Deines
Cabarrus County residents have $925,200 in unclaimed federal stimulus payments, which were sent out to taxpayers in May and June.
With 3,084 residents having not claimed their payments, Cabarrus County ranks 11th in the state.
Meg Gray, a policy analyst with the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, said most of the unclaimed payments likely belong to low-income seniors, veterans and disabled individuals who are with Social Security or Veteran’s Administration beneficiaries and who may have not filed tax returns in some time.
“I think the majority of these payments are for people who have had income low enough that they have not had to file a tax return,” Gray said. “If you’re someone who hasn’t filed a tax return in years, you may not know where to go.”
Gray also said many residents may think the tax filing deadline passed on April 15.
However, she said, residents have until Oct. 15 to claim the payment.
The legislation passed by Congress in 2008 made the economic stimulus payments – worth a minimum of $300 per person – available to people who normally have incomes too low to file tax returns.
“When I say ‘file a return,’ it is as simple as just filling out the top part and writing ‘stimulus payment’ — it’s a two-minute process,” Gray said.
Cabarrus County Aging Services is working with the Internal Revenue Service about assisting with information for seniors, said Chasity Schooley, the county’s aging programs coordinator.
“We haven’t received any training yet here,” Schooley said. “But it is just kind of the logical place for those people to come.”
While there is no volunteer tax assistance site for Cabarrus residents, Schooley said, Aging Services would gladly point residents in the right direction if they think they may qualify for a payment.
“Ask yourself if you’re someone who falls into one of these categories,” said Gray, noting that the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Council on Aging have Web sites set up to help people file.
Nationwide, there are 177,320 citizens who have yet to file for the stimulus checks, making for $53.1 million in unclaimed payments.
• Contact Eric C. Deines: 704-789-9141.