COVID-19 and Stimulus Payments to Individuals: How Did the 2008 Recovery Rebates Work? [March 19, 2020] [open pdf - 692KB]
From the Document: "In response to concerns about an economic slowdown stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers have been considering a broad array of policy options. Some are targeted directly toward individuals and industries that may be most affected. Others would more broadly seek to stimulate the economy. Among this latter category of policies, some have proposed direct cash payments sent to virtually all U.S. households. In 2008 Congress enacted direct cash payments--the 2008 recovery rebates--that were tax credits advanced to households that had filed an income tax return. A portion of these credits were refundable and hence available to taxpayers with little to no income tax liability, including many low-income filers. (For answers to some common questions about advanced refundable tax credits, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Insight IN11247). This Insight provides a brief overview of how those 2008 recovery rebates worked."
CRS Insight, IN11255
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/