You got a $54,000 refund! What are you going to do next?

Floating cash

Tess Vigeland: Finally, a phone call we could not resist making to Thelma and David Ward of Smithfield, N.C. They have several adopted children, and this year, that led to an unexpected call from their tax accountant about their tax refund.

Welcome.

Thelma and David Ward: Thank you. How are you doing?

Vigeland: And the amount is?

David: Just a little over $54,000. I think it's $54,216.

Vigeland: $54,000 tax refund. Wow.

Thelma: By the time I finished giving God praise, the pictures on my wall were sideways. The kids come running out the bedroom, "Mom! Mom! What's wrong? What's wrong?" And it's all I can hear.

Vigeland: Well, this is for a specific reason that you're getting this tax refund. Tell us why.

Thelma: In the past, the adoption credit has been non-refundable. And so this year, it was refundable. And we had been using it since 2005 for some of the older kids. This is what we had leftover.

David: We just take our cash returns, get 'em done, that's it. So when they called and said that, it was like, "Whoa!"

Vigeland: And how many children have you adopted?

Thelma: Six.

Vigeland: What are you planning to do with that refund?

Thelma: OK, I've got a list of things.

Tess laughs

Thelma: First of all, we have fostered over 100 kids at our home, OK? So, it has wear and tear. I've got to get new windows. My oven is making a popping sound, my refrigerator is making a rattling sound, my carpet no longer pops back up at you. I need new cabinets and countertops and that's not covering everything that I need. But it'll help, because I promised the kids to take them on a nice vacation.

Vigeland: There you go.

Thelma: They like the Disney World thing. Probably can't afford to go to Disney World, but we can probably do maybe like a week at the beach, I'm pretty sure. And so we're going to take the kids on vacation, and they better get a souvenir this time, a t-shirt or something. And we plan on taking the rest of the money and doing upgrades to the house -- like carpet, windows, stove. I mean, my washing machine and dryer gets a workout.

Vigeland: Well, David, it seems like Thelma certainly has a list. Did you?

Thelma: His list is my list.

Vigeland: OK.

David and Tess laugh

Vigeland: I'm glad you're going to get a vacation in there, along with a bunch of appliances.

David and Thelma: Oh yeah.

Vigeland: Well, congratulations to you both and thanks for speaking with us.

David and Thelma: Thank you, no problem.

Vigeland: And if you're still in the trenches with your taxes, go to our Makin' Money blog. You're probably not going to end up with a $54,000 refund, but you will find Chris Farrell's favorite last minute tax tips.

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