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July 6, 2009: IRS Will Not Tax Personal Use of Work Cell Phones

July 6, 2009
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WASHINGTON - Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Doug Shulman issued a statement that, although some thought that the IRS was going to be “cracking down” on employees’ personal use of employer-provided cell phones, the agency is not seeking to tax personal use of the devices.

The IRS recently asked for comments on the rules related to employer-provided cell phones. Shulman said that some people incorrectly suggested that the IRS was looking at more stringent enforcement of the rules. Actually, he noted, “The current law, which has been on the books for many years, is burdensome, poorly understood by taxpayers, and difficult for the IRS to administer consistently.” Because of this, Shulman stated, “The IRS is attempting to simplify the rules and eliminate uncertainty for businesses and individuals.”

He continued, “Although some of the proposed changes would add clarity, the current law will inevitably leave widespread confusion among employees and businesses.” Therefore, Shulman said that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and he are asking 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. The passage of time, advances in technology, and the nature of communication in the modern workplace have rendered this law obsolete.”

Publication date: 07/06/2009

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