Good Morning Gentle Readers,
To be at the front of the line you should have mailed your return by about April 1. Electronic filers had a few days more breathing room, but it still takes IRS several days to process electronic returns, so figure April 5th, anyway.
The first batch of payments will be sent to those who had refunds electronically deposited and whose tax returns were PROCESSED by IRS by April 15. That's processed, not postmarked.
If you were in that group, your rebate will be automatically deposited anywhere from early to late May depending upon the last two digits of your (the primary taxpayer) social security number. For example, the first payments will be made electronically May 2 to the accounts of refund taxpayers whose Social Security numbers end in 00 to 20. If a paper check is issued instead, it will be released between mid-May and late June, again depending upon social security number.
The rumor mill has it that if you filed an extension, you don't get a rebate. That isn't true unless you file after
October 15 December 31, 2008. The timing will be on a rolling schedule throughout the year based upon when IRS gets your return. If you file within a reasonably short time after April 15, it
will delay your rebate, but you should see a check by mid-summer.
One thing: If you want the rebate you have to file a return, even if you do not have any taxable income.