IRS Wants To Tax Your Work-Provided Mobile Phone As A Fringe Benefit?

from the searching-for-cash-under-the-cushions dept

It appears that the Federal Treasury really is searching for cash under the cushions these days. Its latest idea? Claiming that mobile phones provided by employers are actually a "fringe benefit" that should be taxed. So even if your company pays for your mobile phone, you may owe the IRS taxes on it. The mobile operators are fighting this, but given the state of the economy, it shouldn't be much of a surprise if the IRS moves forward with this.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 5:48pm

    Taxman

    There is always someone who has a great idea ablout how to raise revenue ... years ago it was the company provided "free" parking.

    On a side note, I thought that congress pretty much told the IRS what to do, and that the IRS can't just come up with a new tax all on their own. But I could be wrong.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 5:58pm

    But what do you give up with Government Subsidy?

    Call Records?

    We already gave up too much already. I throughly enjoyed the following of Federal cars following me to work, and the interrogation by the neighbor who works for the FBI and somehow thought I was gay, even though, I had less than 5 minutes talking with them.

    Fucking awesome shit when you look at it in retrospect.

    Fucking awesome. Thought Police, eh? Love it. Fuck you.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      CmdrOberon, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 6:53pm

      Re:

      Huh? What does this have to do with the story?

      What has caused this devolution of vocabulary?
      Why is it that so many reach for the F-bomb and other puerile profanity these days?

       

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      •  
        icon
        jiminoid (profile), Jun 15th, 2009 @ 6:57pm

        Re: Re:

        The F-bomb!?! You puritanical americans make me laugh

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, yes, and your infantile denigration is 'cute' to us, too.

           

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          identicon
          CmdrOberon, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 4:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your assessment is incorrect. I am not puritanical.

          I'm simply bemoaning the fact that people's vocabularies have become so limited -- English has more words than any other language -- that they must resort to using "fuck", "fucking", "bitch", "biatch", "shit" and "douchebag" as general adjectives.

          What's amazing about English is that it's infinitely maleable. If you don't have a word, you can actually make one up (Shakespeare did, quite a lot). When this happens, the reader can, if you've created a good word, figure out the meaning.

          We've got hundreds of loan words. We adopt from every other language (Greek, Latin, German, French, Indian, Native American languages, Japanese). Why is it that the descriptive power of the language has been entirely lost, and so many adjectives have been replaced by just a few words.

          If this is the natural progress of Journalism (original posts excluded at this site) in English, then perhaps the movie Idiocracy was a documentary.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            hegemon13, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Actually, I am pretty sure you responded to a bot post. They sometimes have a decent vocabulary, but they rarely make much sense. ;)

            I understand where you are coming from, but I hardly think that attributing the ignorance of one (possibly artificial) poster to the "progress of journalism" makes much sense at all. There have always been bad writers. The difference today is that the internet gives bad writers a platform. There are still plenty of good writers out there. You just have to sift through more crap.

             

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 6:15pm

    People should realize that others want to profit as much as they can from your work. Their goal is to maximize the amount of money (or output) that your work produces in their direction. That's what the government does. The Laffer curve states that there are two places on the curve where the government won't collect any money. If they tax you at 100 percent and if they tax you at zero percent. If they tax you at 100 percent no one works and hence no output is directed towards special interest groups. If they tax you at 0 percent they collect nothing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laffer_curve

    Their goal, maximize their revenue, tax you so that the maximum amount of money is directed at them (and cut taxes for the rich since they are the rich). In as much as they can, they want to turn you into slaves. That's the ultimate goal of the FDA, the MPAA, the RIAA, pharmaceutical corporations, etc... they are all self interested.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 6:23pm

    Damn more proof that nothing is "FREE!"

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 6:28pm

    Today, I wonder why Apple wants to know what music I listen to.

    So here's the playlist iTunes didn't get:
    "Worlds Apart" - Jars of Clay (Started playing at 5:50)
    "One Million Miles" - J.Ralph (Started playing at 5:55)
    "You Me And The Bourgeoisie" - The Submarines (Started at 6:01)
    "Shine" - Collective Soul (Started at 6:03)
    "Love Song For a Savior" - Jars of Clay (Started at 6:09)
    "What Do You Want From Me" - Monaco (Started at 6:15)
    "Empires" - Chicane (Started at 6:23)


    Get your fucking house in order, Steve or else I will gladly close the door on you. We won't invite you with open arms like we did for Obama.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

    Oh. I just listened to "Remember Magnetic North"

    This is an interesting remix by BT, Jan Johnston, Tampa-based DJ Markus Schulz. Markus originally gained notoriety by remixing (without lawsuit) distributed BBC Radio One Broadcast with him being a guest DJ. "Global DJ". It's dark, and probably why you can't find it these days.

    Let's just chalk it up to why the whirligigs go round, and leave it at that. Markus is an interesting talent that would do well with another person, let's say Tiesto. But hey, I don't work at nettwerk and can't get Tiesto, who routinely plays "black" and "white" concerts. It'd be nice it Tiesto hooked up with Schulz.

    It's kinda odd, that I can't open iTunes anymore that I complained about it. Now it only plays "Woke up This Morning" from the Soprinos Soundtrack. I click on Coverflow and everything else and it doesn't show up..

    Crimeny, I got that song years ago.

    Fuck you, you APPLE assholes.

     

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  •  
    icon
    zcat (profile), Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:14pm

    what annoys me most about the Laffer curve

    is the automatic assumption by all involved that the government should aim to 'maximize' tax revenue in the first instance. Governments should provide essential services only where it makes no sense for the private sector to provide, regulate collusion or 'naturally occurring monopolies' so that the private sector are forced to provide the remaining services in a competitive environment, and collect only the revenue required to fund this.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:30pm

      Re: what annoys me most about the Laffer curve

      "is the automatic assumption by all involved that the government should aim to 'maximize' tax revenue in the first instance."

      No, this is not an assumption of what they "should" do, it's the assumption of what they "do" do. What should be and what is are two different things.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    ClubRitz, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:17pm

    frIngePhone

    Perfect!

    I've been trying, unsuccessfully I might add, to convince my boss to let me stop using the company phone, and also to only check my email twice a day. I argue that I will be WAY more productive and my stress level will go down, leading to even more productivity.

    But my boss is unconvinced. He wants access to me 24/7 it seems, and it's driving me crazy.

    BUT WAIT! IRS to the rescue? Who'da thunk?

    Now, rather than refusing a requirement of my position, I can simply decline the IRS-defined "Fringe Benefit", and ask for the difference in a cash payment, or I guess he could increase my salary by the commensurate amount.

    Either way, it's all good.

    Now, Dear IRS, Please define email as a FB...

    ClubRitz

     

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    •  
      identicon
      hegemon13, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 8:17am

      Re: frIngePhone

      You should check your state labor laws. Your boss may be in violation. Some states require "on call" pay if the company requires you to be available or reachable outside of working hours.

      Personally, I would find a new job. When I leave work, my time belongs to me and my family, and my employer has no more right to intrude upon that than my family has to hang out and interfere at the office on a regular basis.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:46pm

    Sure, and I've commented about Laffer before... How Rumsfeldt and Cheney were in presence in the 1970s when Laffer provided such ideology. Such conversations bore me.

    As for 24/7 access to you, Well, I congratulate you for a job well done. I've been there 4 times over. Dimon is quite possibly the worst you can get.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Jeff, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:48pm

    RE:IRS Wants To Tax Your Work-Provided Mobile Phone As A Fringe Benefit?

    Actually, in this case Treasury is trying to come up with some reasonable safe harbors. IRS Field Agents have been using this one for several years and the law is on their side. The problem is that back in the late 80's, when the law was written, a cell phone was included in a list of luxury items referred to in the tax code as "Listed Property." Times have changed and the statute has not. The bigger issue is how do you value today's plans. What are free nights and weekends worth when allocating between business and personal use? Where do data plans stand given that a "computer" is not listed property?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:53pm

    Seriously, if you can go and work for Dimon, even for free, for 6 months, you'll learn how to tell everyone else to fuck off.

    But Pandit's people, they are quite possibly the most ignorant assholes on the face of the planet.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:55pm

    the assramming that these smacktards are dropping on all of us is free..

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Hal, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 8:10pm

    Cell Phone

    I have my own phone for personal use my business line is only used for business. Enough is enough,where is MY Bailout????

    I do not want my corp-prorate blackberry, if they tax me they can have the f'en thing.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 8:41pm

    So... my car which I paid for with my post-tax income and paid sales tax on which is used more than 50% of the time for schlepping my ass to work is non-reimburseable, and doesn't even buy me tax break, but some portion of my cell phone (which I don't use for personal crap since I have a personal cell phone) is taxable? Must be nice to have it both ways. Damn socialists. I hope Obama gets taxed on his use of his blackberry, not to mention his "date night" use of Air Force One and the Secret Service.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 8:54pm

      Re:

      What a moron

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 9:15pm

      Re:

      Don't give socialists a bad name.

      Socialists didn't elect obama. Us socialists had a socialist candidate and we fight for human peace and freedom around the world daily.

      America has a moderate corporate party and a right-wing corporate party. There is no room for the benefiting of humanity via socialist philosophy.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:41am

        Re: Re:

        If anything relevant to the conversation is giving socialists a bad name, it is the policies of a very liberal President, cabinet, and congress. While some aspects of Socialism may be about peace, it's fiscal policy is about taking from earners to give to the lazy. The end game is a complacent, apathetic society.

        You are correct - there is no room for socialist philosophy.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If anything relevant to the conversation is giving socialists a bad name, it is the policies of a very liberal President, cabinet, and congress.

          I wasn't aware that the Socialist party had members in any of those positions. Did we change presidents in the middle of the night last night?

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 10:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Note the lower case s - one needs not belong to a party to espouse it's ideals. If it makes you feel better, I probably should have used the term facist(s) - a much better fit.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jun 18th, 2009 @ 6:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If they aren't claiming to be Socialists, then it's difficult for me to see how they're giving Socialists a bad name. I think you're trying to say something untrue. In fact, compared to whole world, the current administration and congress aren't even very liberal.

               

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  •  
    identicon
    Rafael Spams Every Story, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 9:08pm

    BAN rafael

    This comment is on every story!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Snorkdaddy Blammafodd, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 10:44pm

    More "Fringe" Benefits Provided by Employer...

    So, if said employer provides a desk and chair? Fringe...

    Water fountain? Fringe...

    Air conditioning? Definitely fringe

    A toilet for your use? Oh yeah, fringe baby!

    The carpet you walk upon? Waddyathink?

    That door you enter and exit each day? Of course... must. tax. that.

    These farkers would tax rain, fresh air and sunshine if they could get away with it. Don't think they haven't considered it. Alls they need to do is figure out how to meter it.

    Pricks.

    Snork out.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Shooter, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 4:00am

    Already happening

    My company started deducting for this several months back. They deduct taxes on a small portion of the cell phone plan (less than $10/month). I had the option to opt out of this by declaring that I would never use the company phone for personal business; but since I don't have a personal phone this is a cheap way for me to get cell phone service.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    James, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 6:09am

    This is not new

    This is not a new tax it is an outdated one.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    DS, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 7:10am

    If you are using it for personal use, how is it not a 'fringe benefit'?

    And if it's being used for personal use, how would that not be taxable 'income'?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 7:10am

    I pay a couple bucks a month for my parking pass, but the CRA has recently determined the "value" of that pass is actually $40, so I am now being taxed on the $40/month. Lousy government, they get their hands in your pockets any way they can.

     

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    icon
    Grae (profile), Jun 16th, 2009 @ 3:08pm

    Kinda old news

    I already heard about this coming down the pipe from my employer a few months ago.

    Want to guess what the universal response from my shop was?

    "Not going to be on call 24/7 anymore, because the work cell stays at the office and we'll just use the landlines/personal cells to make personal calls."

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Stute, Jun 16th, 2009 @ 5:30pm

    Apparently Obama is going to try and repeal this

    Just thought I'd share this I heard it mentioned on CNN while I was changing through the channels that this has bipartisan support to try and be repealed, and so I did a quick google search and came across this:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=105490031&ft=1&f=1001

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    i believe that used to be a fringe benefit in the UK, but it was dropped as impossible to track how much of the phone contract fell under business use (non taxable) and how much was personal (taxable)

     

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