Here’s a piece of news that’s odd but good.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday conceded a legal dispute over the 3 percent federal excise tax on long-distance telephone service and said $13 billion would be refunded to taxpayers.

One-hundred-six years ago, in 1898, the U.S. Congress implemented a long-distance phone tax to help fund operations in the Spanish-American War. At that time only the wealthy could afford telephones; this tax was designed to them while leaving the average person unaffected.

How much will the average person get back?

[Treasure Secretary John Snow] said he could not specify how much of the refund might be made to businesses and how much to individuals, or estimate the size of refund an average individual could expect to get.

When you do get this small windfall, try to spend it on something that will help your financial future — pay-down debt, invest in retirement, buy some groceries — rather than use it just for fun.

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