Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Don’t be shy: Apply for phone tax refund

The IRS wants you. This time, however, it’s not to take your money, but to give you money.

Nearly $9 million from the Telephone Excise Tax Refund is waiting to be refunded in Arizona, said Internal Revenue Service spokesman Bill Brunson.

The refunds are for anyone who used long-distance service, from landlines and cell phones combined, from Feb. 28, 2003, through Aug. 1, 2006.

Brunson said nearly one-third of Arizonans have not claimed the refund on the returns filed so far.

“We’re truly baffled,” Brunson said when asked why more people aren’t taking advantage of this refund. “We truly don’t have a reason.”

It’s not as if it’s difficult to compute, he said. For the standard refund, all tax filers need to do is complete a single line on the refund form they already use.

The amount of the standard refund is based on the number of exemptions, he said. For one exemption, $30 is the standard, two exemptions get you $40, three exemptions get back $50, and the standard refund for four exemptions or more is $60.

Those who made a lot of long-distance calls may be entitled to a larger refund, Brunson said. All people need to do is review phone bills from the 41-month period to back up their request. They must file their request on Form 8913.

“If they don’t have the phone bills, they can obtain them from their service provider,” he said.

Even people who aren’t filing tax returns because they had no income for 2006, or not enough to qualify, are entitled to the telephone refund. They can use Form 1040EZ-T.

If your taxes have already been filed, you can still make an amendment to claim the refund, Brunson said.

“If someone had told me that I would have to plead with so many people to get them to request a refund that is basically a no-brainer for most people who use the standard amount, I would have thought they were crazy,” Brunson said.

If it still seems confusing or for more information, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040.



For more information on the Telephone Excise Tax Refund, visit www.irs.gov.

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