Tax Relief too
WASHINGTON · Consumers can claim a standard $30 to $60 refund next year for a tax on long-distance telephone calls that the government declared invalid, the Internal Revenue Service announced Thursday.This tax earned the IRS a knucklehead award a few months ago. Why can't taxpayers collect interest too just the government does when somebody doesn't pay their taxes?
Telephone customers had been paying the 3 percent federal excise tax on local and long-distance service. The government this month stopped collecting the tax on long-distance calls after businesses repeatedly fought the tax in court and won.
Next year, consumers can use their 2006 tax returns to claim a refund on long-distance telephone taxes paid since March 2003.
The standard refund starts at $30 and increases by $10 for each additional exemption claimed on a tax return, up to $60. A married couple with two dependent children, for example, could claim a $60 refund.
The IRS said it based the refund amounts on telephone usage data, and that the standard amounts reflect averages for households of different sizes.
The tax dates back to the late 19th century and the Spanish-American War, when telephones were a luxury and the government needed revenue.
In recent years, multiple businesses successfully challenged the tax because it applied to long-distance calls billed according to time and distance, a billing formula mostly replaced by flat-rate calling plans.
Who said life or the tax collector was fair?
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