With time running out to file for an economic stimulus payment from the federal government, new data show that tens of thousands of vulnerable Oregonians have yet to claim their checks.
The Internal Revenue Service reported yesterday that, as of early September, more than 64,000 eligible Oregonians — many of them low-income seniors, disabled veterans and disabled adults — still had not filed the tax return necessary for getting a check for at least $300. The deadline for filing is October 15.
“For some Oregonians, a stimulus check might mean having enough food to eat or making a heating bill payment this fall, so it is important to get the word out to those who have not yet filed,” said Janet Bauer, policy analyst with the Oregon Center for Public Policy.
Most of those who have not submitted a tax return despite being eligible for a stimulus payment have incomes so low they usually would not file. Many are seniors who have not filed for years, according to Bauer.
Since the summer, the IRS and advocates for low-income and senior populations in Oregon have publicized the scope of unclaimed stimulus payments.
The campaign to reduce the number of unclaimed checks appears to have had some impact. Between June 19 and September 7, the number of eligible Oregonians who had not filed dropped by nearly 16,000, IRS figures show.
Enough eligible residents of Salem filed between those dates to remove the city from a list of “100 Top Cities” with people who have yet to file, according to analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Portland, however, remains on the top 100 list, with about 13,000 eligible residents who have yet to file.
Bauer said that OCPP has put together a resource web page that lists where Oregonians throughout the state can seek help in filing a tax return. That web page can be accessed via www.www.ocpp.org.
The Oregon Center for Public Policy is a non-partisan research institute that does in-depth research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues. The Center’s goal is to improve decision making and generate more opportunities for all Oregonians.
Note to editors and reporters: The IRS has made available county-by-county data on the number of eligible Oregonians who have not filed for a stimulus check. OCPP’s presentation of the county-by-county information is available here.