2006 IRS telephone excise tax refund

The IRS announced this as a refund for taxes paid on long distance telephone service, but according to H&R Block, 60% of taxpayers don’t know about this refund; IRS estimates that 30% of those eligible for the refund are not claiming it. Even many of those who are aware of the excise refund are not aware that you can claim this refund for your cell phone’s bundled long distance service too!

Here are some useful instructions for how to claim the excise refund. It is not just a tax credit; even if you paid no taxes, then you will receive the refund. It is literally getting your own money back, for free!

Surprisingly enough, it is probably to your advantage to just take the standard refund, instead of going through all your bills and filing a Form 8913. Initially, I thought this was going to be a win for the “keep all paperwork and bills for 5 years, no matter how trivial” camp, but in the end it looks like you would have to be a special case for it to matter this time.

If you already filed your 2006 taxes, you might be thinking “drat!” at the missed opportunity. No problem; file a Form 1040X amendment, following the 1040X instructions, and using the copy of your 1040/1040A/1040EZ that you kept for your records when you filed as a quick reference. The IRS will adjust their records and send you a refund check if you are due one.

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