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Ohio Waitress Receives $435K Tax Refund by Mistake...and Returns It to the IRS

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"I'm here to give you a half million dollars"

(The Blaze/AP) -- If only it was a tip.

Veteran Cleveland waitress Ginny Hopkins grabbed her mail on her way to work and found a federal tax refund check for nearly $435,000.  She said "laughed out loud," then took the check with her to Johnny's Downtown Restaurant to show around.

She enjoyed the speculation for a couple days about what she could do with the apparent windfall, saying: "Grandma hasn't had a vacation in 28 years...I would have gone to Hawaii," but knows she could never actually cash the check.

"They'll put me in Alactraz, waiting on the night shift at Alcatraz," she said. "They'll reopen the place."

On Thursday, she went to the Internal Revenue Service office in Cleveland with the check.

"I'm here to give you a half million dollars," Hopkins recalled telling employees.  She said, ironically, that she had to show them a photo ID.

"Like anybody would walk in and just give them a big check," she remarked.

Hopkins said the IRS employees politely told her that the mistake would be investigated internally, and a message was left Saturday at the IRS office.

A waitress for 40 years, Hopkins wouldn't reveal how much she earned last year, but laughed and replied: "Not enough to warrant a refund like that."

Hopkins said she originally filed her return in January with her son's help, but an electronic filing glitch caused information on her return to get deleted. She filed an amended return in April, claiming a $754 refund.

Interestingly, she still hasn't gotten that, but Hopkins said the IRS representatives told her how to check on the status of her refund.

She said next year, she'll file her return requesting a direct deposit.

Hopkins, who spoke by telephone Saturday before heading to her job for her sixth day of work in the week, said she wasn't sure what she would do if another $434,712 suddenly showed up in her bank account next year.

"I'd have to start balancing my checkbook a lot better, I can tell you that," she said.

 

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