MADISON (WKOW) -- Your tax refund may be smaller than you hoped this year -- that's because many people have been collecting a tax rebate all year long, and didn't even know it.
2009 tax filers who make less than $75,000 are eligible for a $400 tax rebate. Couples filing jointly, and making less that $150,000, can earn an $800 rebate.
How you get the money changed this year.
Back in 2008, the U.S. government printed millions of stimulus checks -- but instead of a lump-sum check or deposit -- this year's rebate came little by little.
Most employers simply withheld less federal tax, giving people, on average, $8 more per paycheck.
"It gives everyone a little bit thru the year. The major benefit of that is that people get the money sooner," said Hans Stuiber, who owns Franklin Tax and Accounting on Madison's west side.
Stuiber says the rebate change can have a negative impact.
"If you have [multiple] part time jobs, and they deduct your holdings on every job, that's $1,600 dollars, and since you're only allowed $400, that's money you may have to come up with yourself when tax time arrives," he said.
But there are other credits to get the most out of your tax return: $8,000 for first-time home buyers, and up to $1,500 in energy-saving improvements.
You can even write off college, up to $2,500 per student.
All of this year's tax rebates can vary depending on how much money you make, and how much money you're spending on tax deductible items.
If you donated money to Haiti earthquake relief before March 1st, you can claim that as a deduction as well.