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Thread: Get a refund . . . from 1898
12-08-06, 11:14 AM #1
Get a refund . . . from 1898
Get a refund . . . from 1898
The IRS is set to return money collected via Americans' phone bills to pay for the Spanish-American War.
Nearly a year ago, The Motley Fool published an article titled "You're still paying for the Spanish-American War," which noted that, bizarre though it may be, we've all been socked on each phone bill with an excise tax that went into effect long ago to pay for the Spanish-American War.
A recent glance at a reporter's phone bill from Verizon Communications (VZ, news, msgs) confirms that the Federal Excise Tax is still there. You'll probably find it listed on your bill, too.
If your monthly bill amounts to around $100, at the current 3% rate for the tax (which has been as high as 25% in past years), you'll be paying $3 per month for this tax, or $36 per year. Heavy phone users might pay $100 or more per year. All to pay for the Spanish-American War?
Fortunately, once this tax started getting some press, no one could really defend it.
Even folks at AT&T (T, news, msgs), the nation's biggest telecom company, don't like this tax. Jim Cicconi, AT&T's general counsel, has said, "This is a 19th-century tax on a 21st-century technology. It makes no sense, and it ought to be repealed."
Well, sometimes our friends in Washington do something right. The tax has indeed finally come to an end, and we're even being offered refunds.
How to grab the money
The money is out there for you -- you just have to jump through a few hoops in order to get it.
Here are a few things to know, courtesy of Dick Hansen at refundphonetax.com and also from the Internal Revenue Service:
You are to claim the refund on the 2006 tax form that you file in 2007.
You can opt for a standard refund of $30 (if you have one exemption), $40 (if you have two), $50 (if you have three) or $60 (if you have more). This option requires no documentation from you.
If you have (or want to go through the trouble of procuring) your telephone bill statements from March 2003 to July 2006, you can get a refund based on amounts you were actually charged. In most cases, this can amount to a lot more than the standard refund -- perhaps as much as $100 to $300 for many of us. You'll need to fill out IRS Form 8913 for this.
Refunds are also available for businesses.
Learn more about how to get the money due to you at the IRS question-and-answer page. And, in the meantime, here's hoping we don't end up going to war against Spain again!
This article was reported and written by Selena Maranjian for The Motley Fool.We are the thin blue line
and all the money in the world.
And no you can't have any.
12-08-06, 04:01 PM #2
How is this "getting something right"? they want me to prove I had a phone since 2003 and get my refund for up to 3 years ago?!?
The Spanish-American War ended over 100 years ago!
I should get the tax money back on every phone bill I ever had- and I shouldn't have to prove anything to do it!
This only pissed me off more. Ignorance is truely bliss.
The IRS itself should be abolished! FAIR TAX NOW!!The virtue of spirit has no need for thanks or approval. Only the certain conviction that what has been done is right. -Jor El, as played by Marlon Brando
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