According to Snopes.com, many Americans of African descent claim ‘The Black Inheritance Tax Credit’ on their refunds each year and are mistakenly approved for it. Snopes goes on to quote an article in the April 2002 edition of the Washington Post, the IRS mistakenly paid out more than $30 million to over 100,000 claimants for this non-existent ‘Slavery Tax Credit.’ In April of 2005, a Manhattan man was banned from filing taxes because he was regularly filing ‘Reparation Tax Credits” for his clients of slavery and segregation descent. (Article by Barbara Mikkelson).
Filing false and frivolous tax returns can end up costing you thousands of dollars in fines and interest–even if the IRS pays the undue refund in good faith. It doesn’t matter if a third party prepares your taxes for you or not–the person being represented is ultimately responsible for any ill-gotten refunds.
Where did this folklore that has become common belief originate?
Field Order 15 is the most likely culprit: Field Order 15 was an edict set out by General Sherman as a temporary solution to deal with the groups of refugee slaves that enjoined his entourage on January 16, 1865 Read Now. The order entrusted approximately 40,000 men and their families with newly conquered Southern territory (mostly encompassing the Georgia Sea Islands and a strip along the coast of South Carolina from Charleston to the St. Johns River Georgia encyclopedia, that had been used for rice plantations), disbursing 40 acres to each man with the promise of loaning him an Army mule as well. Other plots of land were also parceled out to the former slaves via the Freedman’s Bureau.
Congressmen like Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens wanted to redistribute the newly confiscated land through congressional order (To weaken the Southern rebels ). President Lincoln approved the measure almost immediately, giving newly confiscated land to both White Southern Unionists and Black freedmen. The North also encouraged the freed Blacks to join the Union Army for pay to help support their newly acquired land. This order weakened the Confederate forces significantly.
In a move that nearly got him impeached for political reasons, President Andrew Johnson overturned Field Order 15 and reverted the land back to the previous owners.
40 acres and a mule was never intended to be a permanent promise, but a temporary solution to an immediate concern on behalf of General Sherman.
It has been speculated by many scholars as to what impact this edict would have had on the American Black Nation as a whole had it been instituted into law and acted on permanently–unfortunately the answer must be left to the imagination because it was never promised and it never happened….