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Telephone Tax Excise Refund: Did You Collect Your $30-$60?

In 1898, the telephone excise tax was created to help fund the Spanish American War. The tax was collected long after the war ended and, after a successful constitutional challenge, the IRS agreed to refund the 3% tax for the period between March 2003 and July 2006. What does this mean for everyone? All you needed to do was check a box and the money was yours… except only 71% of tax filers actually claimed it. That means 29% of people walked by that thirty dollar bill and decided not to pick it up. Also, many tax payers who did claim it were actually eligible to claim more if they were willing to do a little paperwork (I can understand taking the easy money and not trying to dig up phone bills, which you probably don’t ever keep anyway).

Now, let’s say you’re one of the taxpayers who failed to claim the refund, how do you get it now and is it worth it? It’s easy, you need to file a 1040X [3], an amended 1040 return, and wait. I estimate that filling out the form and mailing it out probably will take you around 15 minutes, so $30-$60 for 15 minutes isn’t bad right?