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

Man buys ice cream, gets thousands of dollars of cash from state. (Image: WPEC)

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

He noticed there was something missing on his receipt, something very important to the state.

When this customer realized he wasn’t charged any sales tax on his purchase, he reported the store to the state.

“I think it’s kind of fun if you want to know the truth,” said Miller Robinson, a West Palm Beach resident.

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 on the receipt 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.

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 it.

If the state verifies it and collects the unpaid taxes, the consumer can get a 10 percent reward.

Robinson also discovered Walmart didn’t charge sales tax on a pint of ice cream he bought in 2012 and he reported that to the state, too.

“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.

But so far the state has not paid him a reward in the Walmart case.

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

We reached out to the Florida Department of Revenue.

They would not comment on if or when Robinson will 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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