IQ-tips: tax returns (oy gevalt)


Yup, it's that time again"¦ perhaps the worst time of the year for everyone except accountants, right?

But there's a least one bit of good news this year, courtesty of moneygirl's podcast.

The IRS is refunding more than $10 billion for a federal excise tax on long-distance telephone service. The tax started all the way back in 1898 to help fund the Spanish-American War and has helped fund wars since then, yes, including the one we're in now, it seems.

But it was repealed recently after the IRS lost a series of federal court cases showing the tax no longer applies to long-distance service. (Cheering! Arsenio Hall-hooting!) (I know, I know, Arsenio references... you're now thinking I'm as ancient as the Spanish-American War. Well maybe I am.)
Now, while $10 billion may sound like a lot, don't forget there are 300 million people in this country. So"¦ at the end of the return, we're only talking about $60 bucks, unless you're a big-time talker. But hey, $60 is $60 right?

Here's how the credit works: The IRS will refund the 3% long-distance telephone excise tax you paid from March 1, 2003 to August 1, 2006 plus interest. The refund applies to anyone who had long-distance or bundled service (whether landline, wireless, or voice over IP). You can either go through your old telephone bills from that period and add up the tax you paid plus interest and claim a refund for that amount. Or, take the easy path: simply claim the standard amount set by the IRS.