Are federal stimulus checks taxable?

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) -- The tax filing season is barely underway, but there already are rumors and concerns about the federal stimulus checks taxpayers received during 2008.

Several e-mails over the weekend to claimed the stimulus checks have to be repaid, as part of your 2008 taxes.  But what we found at the Internal Revenue Service web site indicates this is not true.

We found this quote on page 6 of the Form 1040 instructions: "Any economic stimulus payment you received is not taxable for federal income tax purposes, but reduces your recovery rebate credit."

The Recovery Rebate Credit as explained on the I.R.S. web site is a "one-time benefit" for people who did not receive the full stimulus check in 2008, but may now be eliglble based on changes in circumstances -- for instance, if your family had a child during last year.