I'm pasting this here because not everyone will read my diary entry about it. But it's important that the confusion be cleared away.
I have been hearing a LOT of complaints from a LOT of people about this year's tax return and the 2008 stimulus check many of us received. It is currently a common misconception, especially amongst those who file their taxes online, that we are all paying back the federal stimulus checks we received. But, after doing some extensive research in the forms of internet searching AND filling out a paper tax return to compare to my online tax return, here is the status of this problem:
If you qualified for receiving the 2008 stimulus check, you ARE NOT paying it back. If, however, you got a check and did NOT qualify for it, you WILL be paying it back. If you received less than you should have, you will get paid the difference. If you received more than you should have, you will pay back the difference.
The online tax return programmers decided to incorporate a shortcut into the programs that make it LOOK like they are deducting your stimulus from your check. Hence why my refund prior to entering the stimulus information said $2390 (which is really only about $1000 less than I made, so it makes no sense I'd receive THAT MUCH back as a refund), and after it said $1490. There was automatically a $900 (the amount of my stimulus check) credit placed on my return once I entered my dependents. I didn't put it there. The program did. Once all my information was completed, and I entered the amount of the stimulus check I received, the amount that was "credited" to my return was removed. It LOOKS like you're being deducted, but you're not. The final amount of your return is (barring any mis-qualifications for any payment you received) exactly what it would be had there never ever been a stimulus check.
If you go to a tax preparer, or you file a paper return, the confusion is much more minimal than it is if you file online. If you can at all avoid it, don't file online. Unless, of course, you fully understood everything I just said.