HARRISBURG, Oct. 6, 2008 – State Senator Wayne D. Fontana today urged citizens to make sure they apply for a federal stimulus check by the Oct. 15 deadline.

Fontana said most citizens who file federal tax returns automatically received a check earlier this year. 

“People need to understand that it is not too late to qualify for a stimulus check,” Fontana said.  “While most citizens who filed a 2007 federal income tax return automatically received a check, those who did not file a return need to provide some basic information on a federal tax return to qualify for the stimulus money.”

Fontana said the IRS recently revealed that nearly 23,000 people in Beaver, Allegheny and Lawrence counties who receive Social Security or Veteran Affairs benefits have not yet filed a 2007 tax return. He said that while they are not required to file a return for tax purposes, they must file to qualify for a stimulus check.

Although the tax filing deadline has long since passed, citizens have until October 15 to file a return for a stimulus check.  There are many Pennsylvania residents, especially senior citizens, who live on fixed incomes who aren’t required to file federal tax returns.  However, if those residents want a stimulus check, they must complete a return.

“It is imperative for the senior citizens of Pennsylvania, as well as other citizens who aren’t required to file tax returns, to understand that in order to receive a stimulus check they must file a return by Oct. 15,” Fontana said.

In May of this year, the U.S. Department of Treasury began sending out economic stimulus rebates to more than 130 million individuals and families.  Eligible citizens can receive up to $600 ($1200 for married couples), and parents will receive an additional $300 for each eligible child under the age of 17.

Retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers across the country, whose numbers are in the tens of millions, are not required to file a tax return. Fontana reiterated that they must file a tax return this year by Oct. 15 in order to receive a stimulus check.

“With the problems we are facing as a country economically, every dollar counts,” Fontana said. “These stimulus checks can help someone buy groceries, heat their home, put gas in their car, or pay for medications.

Additional information is available at the senator’s website: www.senatorfontana.com or at www.irs.gov.