Letter to the Editor: Tax on a returned check

Published 5:11 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

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A while back, we received a Minnesota Surplus ‘One-Time Rebate’ check for $520. I didn’t want it. I felt that accepting it would indicate approval of what the Minnesota State legislature did with the budget surplus among other things. I mailed the check back to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. I also sent a copy of the letter and the check to Governor Walz. I received a letter back from the Minnesota Department of Revenue Taxpayer Rights Advocate Office. It said that they are required to send me Form 1099-MISC even though I previously indicated to them I did not want to receive this payment.

I called and spoke with a pleasant and helpful person at that office. They told me that the Federal IRS considers the check to be income because they sent it to me, even though I did not cash it and had returned it.

I told them to send me the check back. They did. Of the $520, I had to pay $144 of it to Federal Tax. This episode seems to say that when the government sends you a rebate you must take it regardless of any moral, ethical, spiritual or other standing. You cannot refuse it. It also means that the Federal government took a chunk of the taxes from taxes already paid that contributed to the Minnesota State surplus. What a country.

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Gregory Soderberg

Austin, MN