Good Luck Getting That Phone Excise Tax Back
from the death-and-taxes dept
A few months back, the Treasury Department finally caught wind that the Spanish-American War had ended 108 years ago, so perhaps it would be a good idea to repeal the excise tax on long-distance phone calls orginally enacted to help pay for it. The move was lauded by consumer groups, mobile operators and businesses, particularly because people would be able to claim back the last three years' worth of the tax they'd paid. But -- surprise, surprise -- businesses are finding out claiming the refunds is far from easy. For the general public, the IRS is expected to set an amount people can claim back without any documentation, but businesses must go back and look at old phone bills, then calculate what tax they paid, something made even more complicated by the structure of the tax, which was dependent on the length and distance of each call. For small businesses, the headache can be getting their hands on the old bills, with many providers charging for duplicate copies. For larger businesses, the sheer monumentality of the task is staggering for companies with thousands of and employees in multiple locations, and tons of phone lines from multiple providers. Of course, you might think that since courts ruled on multiple occasions that the IRS shouldn't have imposed the tax in the first place, they might accept some measure of responsibility in the matter. Then again, it is the IRS.