By Emma Thelwell, ninemsn Money
, March 11, 2009
Click here for a Q&A on the $900 handout
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's $900 bonus cheque is in the post for more than 8 million Australians. Are you one of the lucky millions? Will you receive the full $900? Find out below.
As Centrelink prepares to kick off the roll out of Rudd's payments today, the government is urging people to splash their cash in the shops to boost the flagging economy.
The ailing high-street has been eagerly waiting to cash in on the bonus dollars, with department store giant David Jones the latest retailer to offer incentives.
Have your say: Will you spend or save the cash bonus?
DJs is offering a bonus $20 David Jones gift card for every $200 worth of store gift cards purchased between Tuesday and Sunday March 15.
The move follows last week's cheekier proposition from retailer Kogan Technologies - which began offering a 37-inch high definition TV for $900 - billed as a "bargain" price.
However, as the nation faces up to a barrage of recent bad news, spawning speculation that Australia is already in a recession, many people fear for their financial security and may not wish to splash their cash.
According to the Australian National Retailers Association's most recent survey people are split over saving versus spending - with half planning to pay off debts and save money, and the other half planning to spend the handout.
Around 20 percent of of those spending the cash will look to buy discretionary items, with the remainder planning to pay off bills and other living expenses.
Q&A: the $900 handout
Who is eligible?
The bonus will be available to Australian resident taxpayers who paid net tax in the 2007-08 financial year.
How do I claim it?
You will not need to apply for the payment. The Tax Office will use its records to determine who is eligible.
To receive the payment, taxpayers must lodge their tax returns for the 2007-08 financial year by 30 June 2009.
The vast majority of taxpayers have already lodged their tax returns.
How much money will I get?
- A $900 bonus will be paid to taxpayers with taxable income up to and including $80,000.
- A $600 bonus will be paid to taxpayers with income exceeding $80,000 to $90,000.
- A $250 bonus will be paid to taxpayers with income exceeding $90,000 to and including $100,000.
When and how will it be paid?
The Tax Office has begun checking who is eligable and will send out cheques from April 2009 for those who have lodged a 2007-08 tax return.
The bonus will be a direct payment to taxpayers including through electronic transfer or cheque. The bonus will not be used to offset a taxpayer's tax liability.
Why has the government lowered the bonus by $50?
When Kevin Rudd first announced the $42 billion stimulus plan in February, he outlined plans for cash handouts of up to $950.
In recent weeks that has been reduced to a maximum of $900. The government has said the cut was made in order to strike a balance between being responsible and acting fast.