The “Black Inheritance Tax/40 Acres and a Mule” Refund–Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
The story is that the U.S. government has passed a bill to make things right with all descendants of slaves through a refund called the “Black Inheritance Tax Refund/40 Acres and a Mule.” A telephone number is given, which, if you call, you’ll receive a packet of information on how to receive the refund. The eRumor also says this was passed under President Bill Clinton, but the government does not want you to be educated about your rights, so there hasn’t been much publicity about it.
This rumor has been making the rounds of the African American community for quite some time, but there is no current truth to it. It is the attempt to apply an order that was given by a Union general during the Civil War that some freed slaves were given 40 acres and a mule, but no longer has validity.
The Internal Revenue Service says scam artists have seized on the eRumor and have been charging people for arranging for them to get their refund. The IRS has discovered that it mistakenly paid more than $30 million to tax payers who claimed the non-existent slavery tax credits in 2000 and 20001. According to the IRS, more than 77,000 tax returns were received in 2001 that included the slavery tax credit that, if paid, would have added up to $2.7 billion. Most of them were based on a figure of $43,000 that Essence magazine suggested was the 1993 value of 40 acres and a mule.