IRS to refund $30 to $60 for past phone tax
Tax agency sets standard amounts for taxpayer refunds on federal long-distance phone tax.
By Jeanne Sahadi, senior writer

NEW YORK ( -- If you paid for long-distance phone service between March 2003 and July of this year, you can bank on getting a refund between $30 and $60 on your 2006 federal tax return.

The refund reimbursement for payment of the 3 percent federal excise "luxury" tax on long-distance service, the origins of which date back to 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War.

In May, then-Treasury Secretary John Snow characterized the tax as an "outdated, antiquated tax that has survived a century beyond its original purpose, and by now should have been ancient history."

If you want to fish through 41 months worth of phone bills to calculate how much you actually paid, you can claim that amount on your return.

Otherwise, the IRS announced Thursday you can claim $30 if you're filing a 2006 return with one exemption; $40 for two exemptions; $50 for three exemptions and $60 for four or more exemptions.

In a statement, the IRS said it arrived at those figures based on "the long-distance phone tax paid by similarly sized families and households."

The IRS is still considering what estimation method businesses and nonprofits can use, since they will have to figure their telephone tax refund based on the actual tax they paid.


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