Saturday, January 20, 2007

Spanish American War Refund

The IRS is set to return money collected via Americans' phone bills to pay for the Spanish-American War,

Bizarre though it may be, we've all been socked on our phone bills with an excise tax that went into effect long ago to pay for the Spanish-American War.

A Federal Excise Tax is still there. You'll 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.

The tax has indeed finally come to an end, and we're even being offered refunds.

The money is out there for you -- you just have to jump through a few hoops to get it.

Here are a few things to know, courtesy 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.

You didn't this was going to be super easy did you?