Sunday, February 25, 2007

Now death is the only certain thing

I have a feeling most people don't know about this, so I thought I'd bring it up. As of mid-2006, after a series of losses in federal court, the Treasury Department decided to stop collecting a federal excise tax on long distance telephone calls. A tax that was instituted in 1898. To pay for the Spanish-American War. Seriously.

The good news is that all the taxes collected to pay for the Spanish-American War since 2003 will be refunded to you this year. Basically, if you had a long-distance carrier since then, there will be a line on your tax return giving you back $30 (for single people, more for people with more exemptions). The IRS has more information.

I'd just like to point out that this isn't a new deduction or even a credit. This is a refund of tax you have already paid. It sounds like anyone with a long distance phone bill is eligible.

3 comments:

David said...

...a federal excise tax on long distance telephone calls. A tax that was instituted in 1898.

Maybe I'm showing my historical ignorance here, but... did people really make that many long-distance phone calls in 1898 to make this tax worth collecting?

Narc said...

The telephone had only been invented in the late 1870s, so it was a toy of the rich. I imagine prices must have been astronomical, since there weren't networks of phone lines to just extend to another house that wanted a phone. My point is that it was a luxury tax imposed on the very rich. Makes you wonder how the Iraq war (some estimates put the cost at $2 trillion) will be paid for.

Matthew said...

Sweet!