American? Want $30? (It's yours for the asking!)

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by mindseye, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. mindseye

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    A 2006 US court ruling limited the scope of the types of telephone services on which the federal excise tax could be charged. Any US resident who paid for long distance telephone service (including cell phones or VOIP services) between February 2003 and August 2006 is eligible for a refund.

    The amount of the refund is $30 for individual taxpayers, and $40 for taxpayers filing jointly, or the actual excess tax you paid if you still have receipts for the past forty-one months. (Anyone here that meticulous?)

    However, to claim the refund, you have to request it. You can do so on your 1040 form if you have to file one (for example, on the 1040-EZ form, line 9 is where you'd include your $30/$40 credit). If you do not have to file a 1040 return for 2006, you can still request one by submitting a form called "1040-EZ-T" that's available at Internal Revenue Service.

    Because the court ruling came out in summer 2006, and the details for implementing the refund were not approved until even later, not all tax preparation software will process the refund correctly, and if you omit the refund from your 2006 return, it is much more complicated to request it later. So double-check your return if you are preparing it electronically.

    More information at: Telephone Tax Refund Questions and Answers
     
  2. agnslz

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    Ooh! I was thinking this would only apply to landline telephones. I only pay for my cellphone, not my home phone (my mom pays for that), so I'll be able to claim this too! Yay! Thirty more dollars on my refund this year!:biggrin:
     
  3. SpeedoGuy

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    I'm going to try it. Thanks, mindseye.
     
  4. viking1

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    Yep, my tax accountant already knew about this. I will get my $30 when my refund check arrives.
     
  5. Rikter8

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    Let's hope so.

    I have every bill since I was 18 filed away.

    Why? Because if they try to say you didn't pay a bill, you can go back and check. Same with Credit Card items.

    Case in point. A friend of mine worked for one of the big phone companies in the early 80s. Retired with a pension, and back then they gave free pager service, and free bag phone service. (yes...those large bag phones that got better range and distance than todays phones)
    Well, in 2005 they decided to AX the free cell phones and pager service from retirees, which was written into contract.
    They simply stated, "Show us your contract".
    Luckily he pulled his out from the 80s, and faxed it to them.
    Back then, it was printed on a type of wax paper, and over the years had faded.
    He had it, but they wouldn't honor it because it was faded.....

    I have a feeling alot more companies are going to try to pull the same stunt.
    With todays electronic age, theres really no reason not to either digitalize and save your bills to disk, or make PDF files to archive them in a safe spot.

    Just my .02
    C
     
  6. D_Thoraxis_Biggulp

    D_Thoraxis_Biggulp New Member

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    Well that's good news, and even better that it's been verified as not being an online hoax. An extra $30 in my pocket is always welcome.
     
  7. B_hungnate

    B_hungnate New Member

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    Sounds great, only nobody I know pays for long distance anymore. Everyone gets free long distance on their cell phone plan. Oh well.
     
  8. dannymawg

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    This is exactly what I just spent the last five years doing - except for business customers, not consumers. It was interpreting the tariffs created during the breakup of the baby bells, and performing the physical enforcement of the contract, exploiting every nook/cranny/vague language to boost profits and corner customers into their contractual commitments, despite the explosion in technology (which is the reason why unlimited calling is the norm nowadays - the physical method to separate local/long distance billing is way outdated).

    There are legions of lawyers/lobbyists to ensure that any changes to the tariffs are a win/win situation for telecom, with a seemingly consumer-oriented gloss to appear fair to both consumer and the companies. Hence the need to come up with over two years worth of receipts to take advantage of the rebate - which makes what I say so obvious. Telecom knows the average consumer won't have those receipts - and also knows that they have zillions of terabytes of the same information already on file, yet won't assume the cost/liability of correcting their exploits, as it would set an ugly precedent for them.

    All I'll say is this: any contract you sign with any telecom for any type of service don't mean shit. The company will still find a way to do what it wants to do. I know - I helped them do it for five years. No wonder I hated the job. Seeing this thread helps to solidify the thought that my layoff was a blessing in disguise.
     
  9. mindseye

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    Check the Questions-and-Answers page at irs.gov -- as far as they're concerned, you're not getting "free long distance"; the long distance is included in the monthly charges, so if you paid excise tax on it, you're due a refund.
     
  10. agnslz

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    Exactly. It's most likely that you paid the innapropriate taxes on long distance even though it was 'free' (included) on your cell phone plan at no extra cost. I know it was charged on my old bills, even though I have a similar 'free' long distance plan on my cellphone, and I'm going to claim this refund!
     
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