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Man buys ice cream, gets thousands of dollars of cash from state



A Florida man proves checking your receipt after a purchase can pay off big, even if it’s just for a pint of ice cream. Our affiliate WPEC in West Palm Beach reports.

Miller Robinson, a retired auto broker and father of three, likes ice cream.

And this cold treat led to some cold hard cash.

When he bought a pint of ice cream for about $4.00 at a Winn Dixie in 2010, he noticed there was something missing on his receipt, something very important to the state.

The store didn’t charge him any sales tax on his purchase, and he knew that was a mistake.

So he reported the error to the Florida Department of Revenue.

“I think it’s kind of fun if you want to know the truth,” said Robinson.

A year later, in 2011 he got a reward for his efforts, two checks from the state totaling about $15,200.

“I don’t look for these things. But that just happened to fall in my lap. It’s a tremendous gift,” Robinson said.

He took advantage of a little known reward program.

In Florida, if a consumer spots a sales tax error by a retailer, he or she can report to the state in hopes of being paid a reward. If the state verifies it and collects the unpaid taxes, the consumer can get a 10 percent reward.

When he discovered Walmart didn’t charge sales tax on a pint of ice cream he bought in 2012,

“I look at my receipt and lo and behold, no tax. And I said I have struck gold on this one,” Robinson said.

By his calculations, he should get a reward of $200,000 to $300,000, considering the number of Walmart's in Florida and the amount of ice cream they sell.

“I knew it was a pile of money,” he said.

He filed a complaint with the Department of Revenue, but according to a letter he received from the rewards department on November 19, 2014, his complaint and the evidence he provided did not result in the collection of any money so he would not get any money.

“I think it’s a good program if they’d live up to their end of the bargain,” Robinson said.

The Florida Department of Revenue would not comment on why Robinson didn't get a reward in the Walmart case. They say any information they get from taxpayers or actions they take are confidential.

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