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(CNN)   IRS: "We've got free money, all you gotta to do is file for it." Taxpayers: "Eh, that's too much work."   (money.cnn.com) divider line 85
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26012 clicks; posted to Main » on 13 Oct 2007 at 5:43 PM (6 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2007-10-13 05:46:16 PM
There's probably more to this...

/hoops?
 
2007-10-13 05:47:09 PM
This is yet another example of the death of the individual citizen. We're now too friggin' lazy to seize our own money from the entity that confiscated it in the first place.
 
2007-10-13 05:47:53 PM
I was going to file, but the process was too confusing and time consuming to bother.
 
2007-10-13 05:48:07 PM
Fiddy Cent and Bullet Tooth Tony, unimpressed.
 
2007-10-13 05:48:49 PM
logruszed: Fiddy Cent and Bullet Tooth Tony, unimpressed.

damn! wrong thread.
 
2007-10-13 05:48:51 PM
I'm too lazy to finish this
 
2007-10-13 05:49:40 PM
You owe the IRS $1.25 and they'll track you down to the ends of the earth. They owe you money and suddenly they're like, JJorsett WHO?
 
2007-10-13 05:50:44 PM
Ron Paul not impressed.
 
2007-10-13 05:50:48 PM
Tucson1974: I was going to file, but the process was too confusing and time consuming to bother.

The opportunity cost was too high, eh?
 
2007-10-13 05:52:08 PM
Nice of them to include a link to how to file for it. Morans.
 
2007-10-13 05:52:10 PM
There were no hoops. You just needed to declare it in the box provided by them. In fact, if you are lazy(like me) you could have opted for a fixed amount. HRBlock online did it for me. Crap like this is why they are worth the little money that they take.
 
2007-10-13 05:52:38 PM
Helpful link to the IRS refund page.

Link (new window)
 
2007-10-13 05:52:51 PM
I had to take the standard deduction.

If anyone's stupid it's the IRS. How many people do they think keep years of old phone bills around? If I had had them I would have gladly applied for the full amount.

They should offer whatever's left over next year.
 
2007-10-13 05:54:49 PM
Just because it's too much work doesn't necessarily mean people are being lazy. If you make it complicated enough then people are not going waste time with it just to save 10 bucks.

I wonder what the total yearly cost is that people spend filing taxes. I'm talking about time spent working on them and such. Combine that will how much is spent by the IRS handling that complicated taxes. Sheesh, the whole thing boggles my mind. The government would probably end up with more money and a more productive society with a simpler tax system.
 
2007-10-13 05:55:46 PM
Heh. When one pays thousands and thousands of dollars in taxes, its almost insulting that they're offering a $40 refund on an "overcharge".

You refund a few thousand dollars, run the government on a shoestring budget like its supposed to be... and you can keep the $40, m'kay?
 
2007-10-13 05:56:23 PM
All I had to do to claim it was check a box on TurboTax.
 
2007-10-13 05:57:26 PM
Tucson1974: I was going to file, but the process was too confusing and time consuming to bother.

Which is why you can get a flat rate of $30-60 instead of doing any work. I processed thousands of returns and out of all of those only about a fourth of the people claimed it.
 
2007-10-13 05:59:03 PM
It's not even laziness; it's the complications of having to go back and hunt down phone bills that only a completely anal retentive maniac would still have, then doing the proper math to file for the return.

Then praying you didn't screw up or the 35 cents extra the IRS gives you turns into 50 thousand dollars you owe them in 20 years.
 
2007-10-13 05:59:40 PM
FTFA: The inspector general report cited two main reasons for the lower-than-expected refunds:

Many taxpayers, following the advice of the IRS, didn't want to bother searching for old phone bills to calculate exactly how much they were owed, and took the standard $30 to $60 refund instead, refunds that were based on the number of exemptions claimed.


Ummm..... how many people bother to keep all of their old phone bills?
 
2007-10-13 06:00:08 PM
FTA The tax agency estimated the one-time refund would affect 145 million to 165 million taxpayers.

The other 155 million people (out of 300 million) in America are illegal immigrants and welfare mothers who don't pay taxes
 
2007-10-13 06:01:35 PM
jjorsett: You owe the IRS $1.25 and they'll track you down to the ends of the earth. They owe you money and suddenly they're like, JJorsett WHO?

That's not entirely true. I failed to file for the tax year 2004 (long story). In that year I also claimed unemployment for 3 months and had no taxes withheld from it. Last year they sent several letters requesting that I file. Well, I couldn't find the W-2 and the company I worked for is no longer in business so I kinda blew it off. This year they sent me a letter stating how much I owe them and that I had 30 days to pay. I wrote them back apologizing for my lack of response and cited vague personal problems. I requested that they give me another opportunity to file and and asked what I should do about the W2 situation. They gave me an extention until the 15th of 2008 and told me that I did not need a W2 so long as I did not dispute the amount they claim was withheld.

It looks like I am going to get about a grand back.

I am not a fan of the IRS by any means but it seems to me that so long as you aren't trying to cheat the system and defraud them they are usually pretty reasonable.
 
2007-10-13 06:02:23 PM
I wore my green ribbon to show support for the phone refund and I have a Phonestrong wristband.

You mean I was actually supposed to do something?
 
2007-10-13 06:05:28 PM
www.nndb.com

I'll show you how!!
 
2007-10-13 06:10:22 PM
I'll bet a large number of the non-filers were 1040EZ short form users who didn't want to haggle with the long form just to deduct $30 from their taxes. If it takes you three hours to get through that packet, you're only getting paid $10/hour to make this deduction, and if you don't even want to screw with the thing, it would cost you more to have a tax professional prepare your long form than you'd get back in return.

See? This is why companies have so much success advertising prices after rebate.
 
2007-10-13 06:10:43 PM
Tucson1974: I was going to file, but the process was too confusing and time consuming to bother.

Same here.
 
2007-10-13 06:10:51 PM
Vanetia: It's not even laziness; it's the complications of having to go back and hunt down phone bills that only a completely anal retentive maniac would still have, then doing the proper math to file for the return.

Yes, but now I'm a $350 richer anal retentive maniac

/Laughs as he puts his money in numeric order
//with the faces facing you
///and separated by location of Mint
 
2007-10-13 06:11:03 PM
It wasn't difficult or complicated, and it didn't matter whether you itemized deductions or not. It was a refundable credit which had its own line on the tax forms. If you weren't required to file, there was a short form that amounted to little more than filling our your name, address and SSN. You didn't need any documentation at all if you claimed the standard amount.
 
2007-10-13 06:11:36 PM
Took me about an hour to fill out 1040X recently. Sucks having to figure out shiat for stuff that you only do once.
 
Rat
2007-10-13 06:12:01 PM
I did the Turbo Tax thing. Checked the box. Hope they don't come looking for old bills. They can't track who I am on thing interweb thing, can they?

© mo' money, mo' money
 
2007-10-13 06:17:26 PM

Actual help from IRS (no, it's not a "roll" like texanb4's link):

========================================

After I filed my 2006 return, I discovered that I qualify for the telephone tax refund. Can I still request the refund?


Yes. You can get it by filing an amended return using Form 1040X.


Request the telephone tax refund by filling out Line 15 on this form. Fill out the rest of this form using the instructions for Form 1040X. If you choose to base your request on the actual amount of tax paid (rather than using the standard amount), also fill out and attach Form 8913.


You normally have three years to file an amended return. In most cases, this means that if you want to request the telephone tax refund or make other changes to your 2006 return, you must file Form 1040X by April 15, 2010.


Form 1040X cannot be filed electronically; it must be filed on paper. To avoid refund delays, mail your completed Form 1040X at least three weeks after you filed your original return (if it was e-filed) or at least eight weeks later (if filed on paper).


========================================

Source (p)
 
2007-10-13 06:19:14 PM
Exactly where on the Form 1040 was I supposed to check for this? I don't recall seeing it.
 
2007-10-13 06:20:26 PM
It's a trap!
 
2007-10-13 06:22:03 PM
I'll gladly take a $30-$60 for a tax I didn't even know existed.
 
2007-10-13 06:23:47 PM
This is why I have a tax attorney do them for me.
 
2007-10-13 06:25:12 PM
Form 1040X, got it. Okay, so I gotta file another piece of paperwork. I can see why some people don't bother.
 
2007-10-13 06:25:26 PM
I was gonna gather up all my old phone bills for a nominal refund from the IRS, even though the time spent doing so is worth more than the actual refund amount/But then I got high...
 
2007-10-13 06:28:08 PM
I just don't have the bills from the past years. It's not that I don't want the money.

This tax system is corrupt and stupid.

National Sales Tax: transfer the tax work to businesses who do it anyway, tax drug dealers and crooks, and don't tax things we need, so the only poor people paying tax are the ones buying crap.
 
2007-10-13 06:30:07 PM
captainstudd: I'll show you how!!

I always wondered what the hell is in that guys books. Has anyone read one? Is there anything worthwhile?

I'd never buy one. I can't see giving him any money. He is too freaky for me.
 
2007-10-13 06:33:43 PM
Arcanum: I just don't have the bills from the past years. It's not that I don't want the money.

This tax system is corrupt and stupid.

National Sales Tax: transfer the tax work to businesses who do it anyway, tax drug dealers and crooks, and don't tax things we need, so the only poor people paying tax are the ones buying crap.


Like Communism and Libertarianism, that only works in theory.
 
2007-10-13 06:34:33 PM
It wasn't that hard. We get our taxes done at H&R Block, and the guy filed it for us.
 
2007-10-13 06:36:17 PM
It's really an example of how beaurocracy works. Sure, they would just LOVE to give you money, but you have to have your phone bills for the last (enter number here) years. Who the hell keeps a phone bill? You pay it, you toss it.

I feel the same way about rebates. The companies who offer mail in rebates EXPECT that people are too lazy yo fill out the form and get their money. I was actually shocked...SHOCKED I TELL YOU that I just got the 40 dollar rebate from the video card i bought four months ago, because I actually took the time to fill out the form.
 
2007-10-13 06:36:23 PM
I was going to take the free money but
 
2007-10-13 06:36:47 PM
The 30 to 60 credit such such BS. I think the average tax is like 3 dollars a month, if you have a cell phone for 5 years, that's like 180$. I, like most people, don't keep every phone bill i recieve, expecially since I don't get a hard copy. Stupid Verizon keeps bills for the past 6 months, if you want bills from before then it cost 5$ for EACH monthly bill.
 
2007-10-13 06:38:22 PM
The_Philosopher_King: I always wondered what the hell is in that guys books. Has anyone read one? Is there anything worthwhile?

My old roommate had one - totally worthless (of course). I only flipped through, but it was primarily a giant list of phone numbers and addresses to various government offices.
 
2007-10-13 06:48:08 PM
Once again, just so we're clear: if you claim the standard amount, you don't need any bills. You just get free money.
 
2007-10-13 06:49:10 PM
I filed online and mailed my stubs to them and they lost them.

Now I got to reprint and remail them, fark I paid them $80 they could at least keep track of shat.
 
2007-10-13 06:56:25 PM
I had a tax business. Used to shock and amaze me people would pay me to do something, which for most is a simple return.

Thanks to the laziness of people to figure out that something is easy, I was able to retire at 37.

Thanks guys!
 
2007-10-13 06:58:09 PM
hobbes0022

If you're eligible for the Earned Income Credit I can see how you might think this is a scam, but when you have a five-digit tax bill, taking an hour and a half to document fifty bucks just isn't worth it, so I'll take the two seconds to only get half of it, thanks.
 
2007-10-13 06:59:06 PM
I never understood this credit.

Why didn't the govt. just pay the phone companies back what they overcollected from the customers? Then credit the customers on their bills?

Speaking of which. Aren't we due for another "advance refund"? It's getting close to election time again.
 
2007-10-13 06:59:14 PM
Tommy Moo: I'll bet a large number of the non-filers were 1040EZ short form users who didn't want to haggle with the long form just to deduct $30 from their taxes. If it takes you three hours to get through that packet, you're only getting paid $10/hour to make this deduction, and if you don't even want to screw with the thing, it would cost you more to have a tax professional prepare your long form than you'd get back in return.

The checkbox was on every version of the 1040, including the EZ. All filers had to do if they didn't have their bills available was to check a box. That's it. Even if a filer had no other reason to file, they could have filed a 1040-T, which would have given them basically free money. The fact that filers couldn't check a box and get $30 to $60 (depending on number of deductions) is just laziness.

If they wanted their entire amount and had their bills available then they had to fill out and attach an additional form.

/submitter
//yes, I took the tax credit
 
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