…as long as you owe us.
It is really great how it is possible to buy merchandise and return it weeks later if something is wrong; or in some cases, you only have to change your mind. Returns can be 30, 60, or 90 days, later. I am a huge fan of this because sometimes it is hard for me to get back to the store. Sometimes I have not had a chance to use the product right away. Or I may even find a better solution somewhere down the road.
This return policy even works with statements from your utility companies, your bank or even the IRS. The problem with finding an error on your mortgage statement or tax return is that you have a prescribed amount of time to dispute a charge even when you are unaware of that there is a problem. Unlike how we know something that we bought is not going to fit the bill.
When returning an item of purchase, it is understandable to have a limited amount of time to return it. But what if you over paid your mortgage, credit card bill or taxes? I am almost certain that you—like me—would expect your overpayment to be returned to you.
Well, that is not the case. If you accidently pay your mortgage twice in one month1 they keep that money. Yes, it goes toward your mortgage but what if you needed that money to pay other bills? It does not matter one stickin’ bit [to the bank] they still keep it.
Overpaid the IRS or found a deduction worthy of filing an amendment? You better do it within two years of sending the IRS the payment. Or you are never going to see those (possibly hundreds of) dollars again. Yes, there is a type of statute of limitations on getting your money back from Uncle Sam.
Yet if the tax payer makes an error, it matters not how much time has passed. The IRS will still get their money and the tax payer gets slapped with interest and penalties to boot. How is that equitable?
The big entities get protection from timelines but the common folk must adhere to timelines that are often fleeting. Legislation is often protecting the biggest bullies in the playground while the little kid is left to fight by and for themselves.
So be sure to get help where you can when it comes to doing your taxes or using certain technology. There is so much information out there that can help you protect yourself from losing out on funds that are rightfully yours.
1. You may laugh but this happened to me. Sadly, I believed that I had stopped the automatic mortgage payments and paid with online banking as well