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Waitress gets $434,000 more from IRS than she expected

Ginny Hopkins had been waiting and waiting and waiting for her federal tax refund check. After all, $754 was a nice chunk of change and she had some projects that money would pay for.

But when the Internal Revenue Service check finally showed up, Ginny got a big surprise.

The check was for $434,712.

Hopkins, who's worked at Johnny's Downtown in Cleveland for almost 20 years, told the local NBC affiliate WKYC that "I have many best friends now." 

Despite fleeting thoughts of using the money for a dream trip to Hawaii or maybe Rio de Janeiro's famous Carnival, Hopkins knew better.

She returned the check to the IRS office in Cleveland's federal building.

Mistakes happen: Despite the increased accuracy of electronic filing, mistakes -- both in the taxpayer's favor or that cause filer dismay -- still happen.

Do you know what to do if your refund check, or direct deposit amount, is wrong?

The first thing is to contact the IRS and find out why the refund amount was not what you expected.

If your refund is smaller than you thought you'd get, you can go ahead and deposit it.

The missing money might be because of offsets to cover other debts or filing mistakes you made. In such cases, that's all you're going to get.

But if you are indeed due more, the IRS will make up the difference with another check.

And if, as in Hopkins' case, the refund is a lot larger than you figured on your 1040, don't go on a spending spree until you get assurances from Uncle Sam that the money is yours.

When that's all sorted out, then you can call your favorite local TV station!

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