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Waitress gets US$434,000 tax return

13:00 AEST Fri Jun 1 2012

A US waitress expecting a $750 tax return instead received a cheque for more than $400,000 after a mistake by the US tax office.

Virginia Hopkins is used to getting big tips after 19 years working at a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, but was never expecting such a windfall.

Ms Hopkins was hoping for enough money to fix her car, but instead was issued a cheque for US$434,712.

"I think I would have to work most of my life to earn that much money, even with undeclared tips," she told US network ABC."

Rather than cashing the cheque, Ms Hopkins decided to return it to the internal revenue service (IRS), even though they insisted she provide photo ID before they accepted it.

"It's not easy being poor after you've been rich," she said.

She is still waiting for her US$754 tax return.