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The Tax Return

In The Tax Return, the IRS accidentally sends Lou a refund for $1 million. After he cashes the check at the bank, he is followed home by a pair of crooks. Meanwhile, Mr. Fields suspects that Lou is a counterfeiter.

Episode 43, The Tax Return, The Abbott and Costello Show season 2, originally aired February 27, 1954

The Tax Return begins with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello sitting on a park bench. Bud is reading Lou recipes from a book — and giving the pages to the hungry Lou to eat! While Bud suffers with “only” a ham sandwich. They make their way back to the boarding house, where they don’t have enough money to pay their rent. So Sid Fields gives them some handbills to distribute, to work off some of their six months back rent.

Which they promptly lose. What to do? Lou got a little printing machine — he can print up more handbills to pass out. But, they need money for paper. Lou has a letter from the IRS — it’s a refund. It should be for 13 cents, but it’s for one million dollars and thirteen cents!

Do you have any kind of identification?

First, Bud and Lou go to the IRS office. But the official there insists that his office doesn’t make mistakes! So Bud and Lou go to the bank, to cash Lou’s check. But there’s the matter of identification. Although Bud vouches for Lou’s identity — and Lou for Bud’s — the bank wants more proof. So, Lou takes off his coat, to show his laundry mark. But it’s smudged. So Lou keeps taking off one item of clothing after another. Eventually, Mr. Smith of the bank it satisfied that it’s really Lou Costello. Good thing, since Lou’s down to his woolen underwear! And they walk home, with Lou still in his underwear, carrying enormous stacks of cash. And they’re trailed from the bank by two unknown characters …

Mike the Cop suspects counterfeiting

Back at their room, Lou’s dressed. But he notices the suspicious character outside, who trailed them from the bank. So, they hatch a plan. They put Lou’s money in one suitcase, and something heavy in the other. They’ll go outside, and when the suspected crooks take the suitcase, it won’t be the money!

But Mike the Cop sees Bud and Lou leaving with a large suitcase. He thinks they might be skipping out without paying, and alerts the landlord, Sid Fields. So they go into the boys’ room, where they see a suitcase full of money and Lou’s printing press. Mike the Cop immediately suspects that Bud and Lou are counterfeiters! He goes off to call his captain. In the meanwhile, Lou returns home — since he forgot his lucky rabbit’s foot. And inevitably leaves again with the wrong suitcase!

Suspicious characters after the tax return

But Lou’s mix-up actually works to their advantage! Unaware that they’re actually carrying the million dollars, Bud Abbott nearly gives it to the crooks! But they’re too suspicious to take it! They think that it’s a decoy. So, they follow Bud and Lou back to their apartment, break in, and it’s a comedy fight for the money!

In conclusion

After the fight, the IRS phones Lou — they want the money back! An opportunistic window washer overhears, and pretends to be an IRS agent to con them out of the money! When the real IRS agents appear, they’re ready to arrest them! But, two police in a patrol car have caught the window washer counting the money, brings them into the boarding and and all’s resolved.

But, since Mike the Cop was going to falsely arrest them as counterfeiters, Lou plans a little blackmail in revenge …. To kick him in the pants in public!

Cast of characters

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