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What would most people do if a state tax refund was $1,400 too much?

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by JWBlue, Aug 24, 2012.

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  1. JWBlue

    JWBlue VIP Whale

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    I refiled my 2008 California state taxes. I was supposed to receive $346 back. I received a refund check for about $1,750. I am pretty sure I am going to call the California tax board and tell them of the error. God knows the state I love so much needs every dime right now.

    Three questions:

    > What would you do?

    > What would most other people do?

    > If someone were to not report the error what are the chances of getting caught and what would the penalty be?
     
  2. JillyFromPhilly

    JillyFromPhilly Tourist

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    I would call my accountant & let him deal with it LOL.

    But seriously, I'd check with them on the error and/or give it back.

    If you keep it, since it's their error, if & when they find it you can probably plead ignorance and not face any criminal charges - but - you will still have to pay the money back, definitely with interest [which will surely be at a higher rate than market rate], and quite possibly with additional penalty fees as well.

    In the long run, you're better off reporting it & returning it IMO - if you keep it & no longer have the $$$ to pay them back if & when they do catch it, the penalties & interest will get even worse and/or they'll garnish your wages to get it back.
     
  3. luvstp

    luvstp High-Roller

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    My DH has a small amount of income from Calif due to royalties from oil/gas wells beginning about 2 years ago. Both years that he filed his taxes with the state, they have adjusted the refund he was due back to CA's favor...it wasn't a lot--only $50 or $60, but it was clearly wrong. When he called them on it both times, they acted surprised they had made a mistake (after giving him the runaround for many, many months). If it was any other state besides CA, I would tell you to do the right thing. But, given our bad experiences...take the money and let them figure it out.

    And, the second time he challenged them on their numbers, they immediately acquiesced and said he was right. I think it's a total scam to help a bankrupt state.
     
  4. C0usineddie

    C0usineddie VIP Whale

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    It would be a miracle if i actually got a refund especially from california so i would spend it on booze and broads.
     
  5. LucyR.

    LucyR. VIP Whale

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    It happened to me in Calif.

    Many years ago I got a $500. check from the IRS by mistake. I was sooo
    broke that I decided to cash it. I had a feeling they were going to ask for the money back but I saw it like a loan from the IRS.

    About 6 months or more later.... the IRS just sent me a notice that I owed them the $500. plus interest. At that time I was making a lot of money so
    I just mailed them a check.

    Now that I have money I would call the IRS and ask them if it is a mistake.
    If they don't give me a straight answer I would put it in the bank. I would keep trying to find out why I got the money and make sure the money is mine to spend.
     
  6. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    Is there a possibility that you may have made a mistake?

    I once made a mistake on my federal and they sent me $600,I forget whether that came with an explanation. I would at least make an honest attempt to find out what happened before I spent the money,I wouldnt care whether its California or Delaware,who wants to have to pay this money back. Hopefully you just made a mistake and its yours to keep.
     
  7. Gandolf One

    Gandolf One Tourist

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    Yeah, definitely return it. Honesty=good karma.

    Can't cheat death or taxes. They always come back to bite ya. :Þ
     
  8. captainron62

    captainron62 VIP Whale

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    One of my basic rules, dont mess with the government, especially the tax dept. Something silly like that could trigger an audit, a nasty letter or who knows what. I would just call them and tell them you received the check and unless they tell you something has changed and its valid shred it.
     
  9. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    i would call them to verify, but wouldn't tell them they're wrong. just say you want to confirm that it's the right amount and have them go through it with you. if they say it's the right amount, take it and run.

    the other option is just take it and hope they never figure it out. you definitely can't get in trouble for cashing a check they sent you, but they could always come back for it next year or some time down the road.

    look at it this way. it was your money to begin with, you're just getting a little bit extra back of what was already yours.
     
  10. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Tax hell WI sent me a refund and said I made a mistake on my return, so they sent me a larger refund and explanation letter.

    3 months later I get the notice that they overpaid me and either return the check, or if already cashed, send in a check.

    In the end, my original return was correct and they made the mistake. Still had to pay them back.
     
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