On Your Side: Dialing Up a Refund

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February 26, 2007

Your telephone bill could be the secret to you getting to share of $10 billion on your tax return this year.

The IRS is returning that big sum of money through something called the Telephone Excise Tax Refund.

12 is On Your Side to explain how you can get your piece of the pie.

The whole idea of this refund is to give you back some of the taxes you paid on long distance charges over the past couple of years.

But if you don't take advantage of it this year, you're out of luck...this is a one-trick pony going on for one year only.

Basically, the federal courts have said the excise tax, which you've probably seen on your phone bills as long you can remember, can't be applied to long-distance calls.

So when you're doing your taxes in the next couple of months, you can either take the standard exemption that will get you back anywhere between $30 and $60, or you can add all of the excise tax you paid on long distance between February 2003 and August 2006 and maybe get back a little more.

The good news is that almost anyone will be able to take advantage of this.

"The Telephone Excise Tax Refund extends to landlines, internet and cell phones," Mark Green of the IRS told 12 On Your Side. "This also applies to businesses as well as non-profit organizations."

You will want to be careful--the IRS is cracking down on people who claim way too much of a refund from this offer and can't back it up with documents.

If you do your own taxes, you just have to fill in one additional line to get this.

If you don't need to file taxes for any other reason, you're still eligible. Just get a 1040-EZT form.

Again, this is a one-time deal...don't waste it.

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