Refunds For Good

This project is managed by Jon Gorham (moc.mahrognoj|noj#moc.mahrognoj|noj):

In May 2006 the Internal Revenue Service (the IRS) lost its fifth law suit arguing for the continuation of the 3% Telephone Excise War Tax. This is the same War tax LBJ imposed on our phone bills during the Vietnam War, then at a 10% rate. The court decreed that the IRS needed to return 41 month’s worth of phone tax collected during the period: February 2003 to August 2006 with interest. Individuals, businesses and non-profits are still eligible for the refund. The War tax had been collected for 108 years.

The courts told the IRS to set up mechanisms to implement this refund. It was called by IRS officials “The largest tax refund of its kind in the history of the country” Over $20 Billion was to be returned. (http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=161506,00.html IRS Q&A). In September 2006 I submitted public input but was dismissed with a form e-mail.

It was not until November 2006 that the IRS went public with its approaches for getting the refund dollars back to the American public, a one-time tax credit on the 2006 income tax. For those low-income and elderly people who do not normally file income tax the IRS designed an EASY form: 1040 EZ-T . Businesses could employ an “Estimation Method” that would simplify the filling out of the refund forms.

It became obvious to various tax policy groups, Ralph Nader’s Center for the Study of Responsive Law and even members of the Senate Finance Committee (D-MI Debbie Stabenow) and me that the IRS had no intention of making it easy to get the money back to taxpayers. In the end the administration has kept over $3 Billion of taxpayer’s money and as much as $7 billion in refunds for businesses and non-profits.

With modest financial backing from a Quaker associate and help from some multi-media cohorts, we built two web sites, one for individuals (http://www.refundsforgood.org/ Refunds for individuals) and the second for businesses and non-profits using the Estimation Method. (http://www.refundsforgood.org/business_refund.php For businesses)

Between the web site launch on March 12, 2007 and the deadline for individual filing on April 17, 2007 we had over 100,000 unique visitors to the web site. If you did not take your automatic War tax refund, you may amend your taxes and do so NOW. We set the web site up so that individuals receiving a refund could make an on-line donation directly to one of three non-profits working for sustainable development. If you run a business or non-profit you may amend your taxes up to three years. For more information go to:
(http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc308.html Amend your taxes)

As a Quaker, parent, and environmentalist I was motivated to do this to try to redirect Dick Cheney’s war juggernaut to peaceful purposes. In my spare time this past year I co-founded a cellulosic ethanol company, (http://www.sunethanol.com/site/ SunEthanol) that is commercializing a novel industrial process that makes transportation fuels from a wide variety of plant materials. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/17/AR2007101702216.html Washington Post).

Please contact me at moc.mahrognoj|noj#moc.mahrognoj|noj with any questions or comments.

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