For the 2009 tax year, taxpayers with earned income exceeding US$6,451 (US$12,903) married filing jointly may be entitled to the economic recovery payment known as the Making Work Pay and Government Retiree Credits.

The payment is up to US$400 (up to US$800 married filing jointly).

Final entitlement to the payment depends on other factors including your AGI (adjusted gross income), and whether a payment has already been received (some taxpayers receive a cheque as a process separate to the filing process).

The credit is a refundable credit. Qualifying taxpayers – even outside the United States – are receiving refunds for 2009 even when no US tax has been paid.

Similar economic stimulus recovery payments exist for 2007 and 2008.

There is limited time in which to claim refunds from the IRS. This is generally three years from the date of filing the tax return or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is the later.