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.

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  1. identicon
    Amby Whitaker, 14 Jul 2007 @ 12:44am

    Re: Taxes are illegal

    I agree - or how about like when a new stadium is built and they tax only the people living in the immediate surrounding area? sheesh. What about the people that never go to the stadium or the people that live outside the taxed area that never miss a game? The most sensible way to handle it would be to charge the people that use it - just like with the schools. Charge extra admission or raise the price of school lunches - there are realistic ways to do things.

    We as citizens should have more say in what they are doing. I would like to see a system where they have to inform us and get our votes for how they want to spend OUR money. We should be able to see the financials and what is going on. My god, its not like we don't have a way of communicating this info - there is the Internet.

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