Don’t Overlook Your Phone Refund!

Tax Tips

In completing your tax return, be sure that you don’t overlook your one-time only phone refund.  The IRS is urging you to get that refund! Yes, that’s right, urging you! After checking the first batch of 2006 tax returns, the IRS has realized that 30% of the returns are not including the phone refund.  And the IRS is under the gun to get that money to the taxpayers! 

Why is there a refund?  In 1898, (yes, over 100 years ago) the government imposed a “luxury” excise tax on long-distance telephone users.  Recent federal court decisions held that the 3-percent excise tax no longer applies to long distance service as billed today and the IRS must refund the money.

Who is eligible for this refund?  Just about everyone is eligible!  If you paid long distance charges on a land line, cell phone, Voice over Internet Protocol service, or “bundled” services, for which you received a bill at any time after February 28, 2003 and before August 1, 2006, you are eligible. 

How is the refund calculated?  You can either dig through 41 months of telephone bills or take the “standard” refund amount that the IRS is offering. The standard refund amounts range from $30 to $60, based on the number of exemptions claimed.

If you are interested in the “digging through your bills” or you have business, check out this blog,  for the details.

Is there an easy way to get the standard refund?  Yep! Just select “Yes, I qualify” button on this interview screen and TurboTax will fill in the right numbers for your “standard” refund.

What’s a bundled service? These are telephone plans that do not differentiate charges between local and long-distance calls.  You know, the one charge pays all! It’s probably the way most of us pay our phone bills nowadays.


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