Monday, November 13, 2006

IRS Pays You For A Change

Carrie mentioned that she had heard of a tax credit available to us this year.

She asked me to see if it's true. Here is what she showed me.

A SPECIAL ONE TIME TAX CREDIT ON YOUR 2006 TAX RETURN

When it comes time to prepare and file your 2006 tax return, make sure you don't overlook the"federal excise tax refund credit." You claim the credit on line 71 of your form 1040. A similar linewill be available if you file the short form 1040A. If you have family or friends who no longer file a tax return AND they have their own land phone in their home and have been paying a phone bill for years, make sure they know about this form 1040EZ-T.
What is this all about? Well the federal excise tax has been charge to you on your phone bill for years. It is an old tax that was assessed on your toll calls based on how far the call was being made and how much time you talked on that call. When phone companies began to offer flat fee phone service, challenges to the excise tax ended up in federal courts in several districts of the country. The challenges pointed out that flat fee/rate phone service had nothing to do with the distance and the length of the phone call. Therefore, the excise tax should/could not be assessed.
The IRS has now conceded this argument. Phone companies have been given notice to stop assessing the federal excise tax as of Aug 30, 2006. You will most likely see the tax on your September cutoff statement, but it should NOT be on your October bill.

This, I felt, was important enough to go straight to the horse's mouth. I contacted the IRS and they told me it is indeed true! Here are their own words.


The telephone tax refund is a one-time payment available on your 2006 federal income tax return, designed to refund previously collected long-distance federal excise taxes. It is available to anyone who paid long-distance taxes on landline, cell phone or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

Several recent federal court decisions have held that the tax does not apply to long-distance service as it is billed today. The IRS is following these decisions and refunding the portion of the tax charged on long-distance calls. The IRS is also refunding taxes collected on telephone service under plans that do not differentiate between long distance and local calls.
The telephone tax continues to apply to local-only service, and the IRS is not refunding taxes charged on local-only service.


The IRS will refund to you the taxes on long-distance service billed to you for the period after Feb 28, 2003 and before Aug 1, 2006. Taxpayers should request this refund next year when they file their 2006 tax returns.


In general, anyone who paid the long-distance telephone tax will get the refund on their 2006 federal income tax return. This includes individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations. The 2006 return is usually filed during 2007.

The IRS is making it easier for taxpayers by offering a standard refund amount between $30 and $60, so they don’t need to gather old phone bills. Taxpayers who choose the standard amount will only need to fill out one line on their tax returns. The standard amount is based on actual telephone usage data and the amount applicable to a family or other household reflects the long-distance phone tax paid by similarly sized families or households. Using this amount is the easiest way for taxpayers to get their refunds and avoid gathering 41 months of old phone records.
Businesses and nonprofits must fill out the new Form 8913 and base their refund requests on the actual amount of tax they paid.


So it looks like we all get an extra thirty to sixty bucks this year. My advice?
Invest in stout pants.

It's gonna be a long winter!

More info here.

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