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IRS rejecting reparation claims

More than 20,000 black citizens have filed reparations claims with the IRS based on a post-Civil War proposal to provide former slaves with 40 acres and a mule.

The claims, for $43,209, are being denied and the IRS warned that taxpayers who refile claims after receiving a denial notice could be subject to a $500 penalty.

Congress passed a bill in 1866 requiring Confederate property be confiscated to provide former slaves with 40 acres and a mule, but the bill was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson.

Often the tax forms are attached to a commentary published in the April 1993 issue of Essence, the IRS said. Written by L.G. Sherrod, the commentary argued that racial discrimination functions as a hidden tax and urged readers to fill out their Form 1040s as if they had paid $43,209 in "black taxes" and collect a delinquent tax rebate.

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