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Say I go to the Home Depot and buy something for $100 today. Next week I return it and they give me $120 back. I would call the first $100 a refund. The other $20 I would call a mistake. Since the tax code cannot contain any mistakes<grin> I would call anything that brings one's final net income tax bill to below zero a policy choice instead of a refund. Of course we have to always add the caveat that all policies are subject to change.

No argument from me. When I pulled the original quote to respond to, I didn't realize you were making the distinction between taxes and social policy. I read your sentence literally... that it wasn't possible to get back more from the government than you contributed.

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