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No. of Recommendations: 2
1) Surviving Spouse -- same rebate situation as MFJ?

No. If a MFJ return was filed for 2007 the advance check will be based on that filing status. If the spouse dies in 2008 the surviving spouse is still entitled to file a joint return for 2008, so there's no issue. Everyone who doesn't file MFJ for 2007 or 2008 is treated the same.

2) When divorced parents take turns claiming the kids as dependents, would they each end up with the full $300 per kid? The one who claims the kids on the 2007 return would get the money this summer, and the one who claims them in 2008 would get the credit on the 2008 return? Or will there be some sort of cross-checking to prevent this from happening?

The situation is not addressed in the statute, so both get the payment, unless someone in Congress catches on in time, not likely to happen in an election year when they're throwing money at the voters.

The parent claiming the child in 2007 will get the additional $300 for the child in the advance check. When that parent files in 2008 the additional $300 will not be included in the credit on that return. The law says that the credit on the 2008 return is reduced by the amount of the advance check, but it can't be reduced below zero. Thus, the one who claimed the child in 2007 keeps the $300.

The parent claiming the child in 2008 gets the $300 on the 2008 return. Since it wasn't paid in an advance check, that parent also gets the benefit, this time in a tax liability reduced by $300.

I still say it would have been simpler to toss $100 bills from the Goodyear Blimp.

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