$1.5M in phone tax refunds unclaimed
Customers only need to fill out one line on their income taxes
Many Hawaii taxpayers have neglected to request a special telephone tax refund available this year, leaving some $1.5 million unclaimed so far, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The one-time special refund can range between $30 to $60 a person, depending on the number of exemptions claimed on the 2006 tax return.
TAX REFUND HOW-TO'S
» If you paid more than the standard amount, you may figure your refund using the actual amount of tax shown on your phone bills.
» Base your refund request on the 3 percent federal excise tax paid, not the total phone bill. Do not count tax paid on local-only service.
» Complete Form 8913, Credit for Federal Excise Tax Paid, and attach it to your tax return.
» You must have phone bills or other records to support the amount you are requesting. But do not mail the supporting documents with your tax return. Keep them with your 2006 tax records.
» Not listing the telephone tax refund amount on Form 1040EZ-T.
» Filing duplicate requests, on both a regular tax return and Form 1040EZ-T. Individual taxpayers who already filed regular tax returns should wait for it to be processed, then file a 1040X amended return.
» Requesting a refund based on the entire amount of the phone bill instead of the 3 percent tax on long-distance and bundled service.
On the Net
» More specific information available at www.irs.gov.
About a third of individual Hawaii taxpayers who filed early during a six-week period have yet to request the refund, according to the IRS.
Any taxpayer who paid the 3 percent federal excise tax on long-distance and bundled phone services billed from March 1, 2003, to July 31, 2006, is eligible for the refund.
Throughout the country, the IRS expects to give out more than $10 billion in telephone tax refunds to more than 146 million individual taxpayers.
The Internal Revenue Service expects to give out more than $10 billion in telephone tax refunds to more than 146 million individual taxpayers -- a significant chunk of it from Hawaii.
Already, about a third of Hawaii taxpayers who have filed early have neglected to request the special one-time refund, resulting in some $1.5 million going unclaimed, according to the IRS.
The telephone tax refund is available to taxpayers who paid the 3 percent federal excise tax on long-distance and bundled phone services billed from March 1, 2003, to July 31, 2006.
The government stopped collecting the long-distance excise tax last August, after several federal court decisions held that the tax does not apply to long-distance service as it is billed today. The tax continues to apply to local-only phone service.
To get the refund, eligible taxpayers must request it on their 2006 tax returns, said IRS spokeswoman Judy Monahan.
Businesses and tax-exempt organizations are also eligible for the refund.
Individual taxpayers may request the actual amount of excise tax paid during the 41-month period or use the standard amount, which ranges from $30 to $60 and is based on the number of exemptions claimed on the 2006 tax return.
Using the standard amount, taxpayers only have to fill out one line on their return and don't need to present proof to the IRS.
"Many taxpayers are overlooking this special refund and the chance to get a bigger refund," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "We encourage taxpayers to spend a few extra minutes reviewing their tax return to make sure they are making an accurate request. A little extra time can mean a bigger refund check."
For those not required to file a tax return, the IRS has special short form -- 1040EZ-T -- for requesting the refund. The form can also be e-filed through the IRS Free File program.