Another Reason to Get Rid of the IRS

You may not want to read this post, because you might find out that you are breaking the law, too! It has just come to my attention that I am a miscreant because I have not been itemizing and reporting to my employer my cell phone usage into business vs. personal minutes. It will cost my employer more money for me to do that each month than my monthly phone bill costs!

There are things that the IRS does that tick me off, and there are things they do that are beyond explanation. I found one, and apparently, I and my co-workers have been breaking this law for quite some time.

Here is an excerpt from an e-mail that I just received, entitled "2nd Request-URGENT!! Important Cell Phone Tax Implications".

Dear Cellular Phone Subscriber,

A previous communication was sent to you on July 6, 2007 and we do not have a record of a response. You are receiving this because our records indicate that you have a cell phone ... which is paid for by [the company]... The IRS requires that personal use of employer-provided cell phones must be taxed to individuals as additional compensation.

Do people really use their cell phones that much that it would mean a substantial difference in their tax liability?

Give me a break!

Has anybody heard of this malarkey before? It sounds like we have at least one too many lawyers in our legal department.

Oh well, I'm off to spend $50+ to calculate how many minutes of my $44 phone bill were personal minutes. Bye!


  1. Welcome to my world. I get to inform people of stuff like this on a regular basis.

    I am shocked that your celluar provider is involved. I haven't seen that happen before.

  2. I'm on Bluff if you ever need any help.

  3. When you say "I am shocked that your cellular provider is involved," do you mean you are shocked that I have to declare my personal cell phone minutes as income?

  4. True confessions: I spent the first part of my career working for the IRS -- as a tax auditor, no less. Now take a deep breath.

    Let me first come to the aid of my former employer. This is not all the fault of the IRS. You ought to actually read the tax laws passed by our federal legislators. Heaven knows that few of them do so. This kind of nitpicky crap is often codified in the law. If you wonder how that kind of thing happens, think about lobbyists plus the art of compromise and working a bill through the process.

    Then there are treasury regulations that are written by unelected bureaucrats that help -- uh -- clarify the Internal Revenue Code. A not insignificant amount of the insidious nitpicking comes from this source. And the lines of accountability of these bureaucrats to the citizen voters and their elected representatives is fuzzy at best.

    The IRS takes all of these multituninous pages of legalese and works with a force of people (mainly GS-9 level or below) to implement these laws and regs. Each of these people is indoctrinated and steeped in the culture of the bureaucracy. The truly amazing thing is that IRS does its job as well it they does.

    Our tax system stinks. IRS is the face of our tax system, and they certainly do their share to make life difficult for taxpayers. But let's not forget the guys up the line that are the real sources of IRS hubris: Senators, Congressional Representatives, and administration bureaucrats.


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