Free money! Free money! We shouted, begged, implored you to take the free money that was rightfully yours, but no, you would have none of it. The free money was too good for you. Too much effort, you said, to fill out a simple line on your tax return to celebrate phone ownership and our victory in the Spanish-American War. And now, $8 billion beautiful bucks lie cluttering our treasury, taking up valuable space needed for Social Security IOUs.
The tax agency estimated that the one-time refund would affect between 145 million and 165 million individual taxpayers, including many who normally do not need to file tax returns.
But, as of August, the IRS had repaid just over half of the overcollected tax, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
The inspector general report cited two main reasons for the lower-than-expected refunds:
- Many taxpayers, following the advice of the IRS, asked for the standard amounts developed by the IRS. No documents were needed for these standard amounts, which ranged from $30 to $60 based on the number of exemptions claimed.
- Despite what the report said were generally good efforts by the IRS to communicate the program to taxpayers, many remained uninformed. As of June 9, about 87.6 million, or 71.5 percent, of the 122.6 million individual income tax returns filed had made a phone tax refund claim.
The IRS needs your help. If you already claimed the excise tax refund, check to see if maybe you can squeeze a little more milk from the cow. If you claimed no refund at all, help with the Treasury’s fall cleaning and pick up a copy of Form 1040X.
IRS giving back money, but many not taking it [L.A. Times]
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