Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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6/12/2009
03:40 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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IRS Says It Wants To Help You SAVE Money On Cell Phones!

An anonymous IRS official has leaked some comments about a proposed tax-code change that could make it less expensive for businesses to comply with tax laws governing deductions for cell phones. Forgive me if I'm a tad suspicious, but when was the last time that the IRS did anything to save any money for anyone? And why did the comments have to be made anonymously?

An anonymous IRS official has leaked some comments about a proposed tax-code change that could make it less expensive for businesses to comply with tax laws governing deductions for cell phones. Forgive me if I'm a tad suspicious, but when was the last time that the IRS did anything to save any money for anyone? And why did the comments have to be made anonymously?Here's an excerpt from the news story:

"A law dating to 1989 requires companies seeking to deduct worker cell phones as an expense to track personal use with painstaking documentation of minutes. The IRS says a notice issued this week is intended to make it easier for employers and workers to comply with the law.

"Minute by minute documentation really doesn't make any sense -- we've been hearing all about it, and we said yes it makes no sense," said a senior IRS official, who was not authorized to speak for attribution."

An industry group quoted in the article said that while any modification to the current plan would be helpful, the logical move would be to recognize how widely cell-phone acceptance and usage has changed since that 1989 law went into effect, and eliminate altogether the busywork separating business use from personal use.

"The policy rationale of the late 1980s when this law was passed was a time when cell phones were a luxury," said John Taylor, a spokesman for Sprint Nextel Corp. "Think about the all you can eat rate plans we offer. For an employer that is a burdensome record-keeping requirement."

The IRS said it began accepting public comments on its plan this week and will continue to do so through Sept. 2.

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