back to article Obama disconnects 'obsolete' cell phone tax

The US revenue service has made clear it is binning a controversial tax on personal use of employer supplied devices such as cell phones and BlackBerries. The law was introduced in 1989 and meant that personal use of mobiles provided by employers would be taxed as a benefit. Last week, the Internal Revenue Service asked for …


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  1. Nigel R

    just as a new Broadband Tax is added to all UK phone and cable lines....

    funny, this happens just as the UK is planning to introducing a 50p per month 'broadband' tax, presumably 50p for your land line, an additional 50p for your cable.

    But not, oddly, 50p for your mobile and not for any USB 3g dongles you happen to have about the place.

    And then, what about individually directly dial-able business lines?

    Will the "passage of time, advances in technology, and the nature of communication in the modern workplace" have rendered the new broadband Tax obsolete before it gets introduced in the UK?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Keep 'em coming...

  3. Richard 31


    Has anyone ever been prosecuted under this law?

  4. Martin Lyne



    By Space, I think that's marvellous.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's worse, employees were generally unaware of the law

    First I've heard of it and I've been carrying a company cell for over 5 years. I'd bet most of my friends who carry work cells were unaware of these regs as well.

    AC for obvious reasons.

  6. Bob Terwilliger

    Never catch on

    "burdensome, poorly understood by taxpayers, and difficult to administer consistently".

    Isn't that the mission statement of the Inland Revenue?

  7. Mark 22
    Thumb Up

    Now if only HMRC would take the hint

    At the insistence of our British tax authorities, I have to spend 10-15 minutes a month categorising items on my mobile phone bill, so that I can be charged by my employer for what has hardly ever amounted to more than 50p's worth of personal calls and texts.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    what one hand giveth

    So what new tax is taking the place of this one?

  9. Chris 211


    Why were these things taxed to start with? Does every human process need to be taxed? Here in Britland we haven't been taxed for using a company phone for a few years now. I just wish they would look at company cars in the same way, as a TOOL! Or just taking the monthly car allowance as part of your taxable salary (when provided with a company car). I am amazing they dont tax screwdrivers or laptops them being paid for by the company and I used my company screwdriver to put up a shelf the other day. F%$king governments, who really needs them? Honestly Greedy leeches on society. Gerrr it makes me so angry I want to shoot a duck in the face!

  10. ratfox
    Thumb Up

    Makes sense

    Taxes should be fair, but there is such a thing as going too much into details.

    This is a good example.

    The next thing they could do is to simplify how to pay tax over a nanny or

    a babysitter. Currently, you need to register as a business in order to declare

    your employee. No wonder few people do it...

  11. Eddy Ito

    One down

    Infinity and beyond to go. If these monkeys actually looked at the tax laws, or any laws for that matter, they would see a whole pile of shit that is obsolete, outdated and just plain bad. It would be a full time job for about 10 years for congress to go about repealing them all, and that is without every bloody pol weighing in on the discussion. The only law that should be permanent and that one is "All laws shall expire in [insert arbitrary time limit here] unless renewed. Especially taxes." That way these buggars wouldn't be able to say, "I didn't vote for it, it's automatic."

    What, no Buzz Lightyear icon?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    crazy tax laws are hard to enforce in court

    Instead of settling with the IRS, people are learning that it's better to take their chances with a jury now, since most juries will side against the IRS unless the case is crystal-clear and airtight.

    So the IRS is learning that it needs to clean up the tax law because it costs more to pursue the cases than they'll get, plus its obviously a PR win too.

  13. Tel


    Tax Man Sees Sense Shocker!

    Pity it's in America. We could do with some sense in Government in the UK. Lots of it.

  14. Britt Johnston

    guess who's a blackberry fan

    I bet that came from the top, Obama was an avid user .

  15. Chris C


    "Therefore he said, 'there will be no tax consequence to employers or employees for personal use of work-related devices such as cell phones provided by employers.'"

    With all due respect, that's not what he said. The statement linked to states: "Therefore, Secretary Geithner and I ask that Congress act to make clear that there will be no tax consequence to employers or employees for personal use of work-related devices such as cell phones provided by employers." That is much different. In your quote, he made a statement of fact and the law would change. In his statement, he asks Congress to make a change, but they are under no obligation to do so.

    Regardless, who else thinks that they'll simply say people won't be held accountable, while still keeping the law on the books in case they want to use it in the future?

  16. Ricky H

    OT but related

    "All you have to do is in court was the demand a 1040 form with a valid OMB number on it. The IRS Individual Form 1040 has not and cannot comply with the requirements of the PRA because no existing statute authorizes the IRS to impose or collect the federal income tax from individuals. That lack of bona fide authority makes it impossible for IRS to avoid violating the PRA."

    simply put the IRS has no statue on which to tax the American people. however bad shit happens to you and your loved ones if you go down this path so it's probably best to continue to pay.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    wait for it...

    There's another two taxes to replace the one they're ditching.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Joined up thinking

    Joined up thinking - once claimed practised by NuLabour and perhaps was true for a year or two.

    Unfortunately the only thing now joined up is the number of titles the new Labour President 'Meddlesome' has.

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