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Have You Heard? The Spanish-American War Is Over!
Well, then what's with the "excise tax" you're paying on every cell phone bill? Darla Mack points out:

The Federal Excise Tax or FET was first instituted in 1898 to finance the Spanish-American War. Each month there is a 3% tax added to the bill of every wireless user in America. I'm sorry... do they not know that the war is over? An article posted last year from USA Today mentions that the general excise tax has so far cost consumers about $300 billion. The entire Spanish-American War cost only about $6 billion, adjusted for inflation.


“Today’s wireless user is buried under a heap of taxes and fees. The average wireless subscriber in America pays more than 17% of his or her monthly bill in taxes and fees. That’s nothing short of outrageous. The fact that government is punishing citizens who choose to make their lives more productive, efficient and enjoyable through innovative wireless technology makes no sense at all.” CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent

According to wireless consumers may currently seek a refund for up to 36 months of past taxes. However, one refund claim form is required for each calendar quarter (up to 3 months) of bills.

The links to get a refund, and other hot links, are at Darla's link above.

Posted by aalkon at April 22, 2006 7:23 AM

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I'm not sure where someone got the idea that consumers can get a refund of the telecom excise tax. As near as I can tell from IRS publication 510 (which describes all the zillions of excise taxes), the only consumers due a refund are military personnel serving overseas, and then only for the excise taxes on those particular calls made from overseas.

I don't want to be a wet blanket, but I'd find a tax lawyer before trying to file an 8849 for telecom excise taxes. The IRS can slap you with fines for filing bogus claims, and generally make things pretty miserable.

Posted by: Shivering Timbers at April 22, 2006 6:30 AM

I shouldn't advertise backwardness, but this made me snicker.

Canadian federal income tax is based on a similar legislative boondoggle. In 1917, the House of Commons passed a tax under the War Measures Act to provide funding for World War One : a tax on the income of the upper 2% - or the super rich.

Of course, these days the tables tax the janitor.

Amending legislation is problematic because the whole concept is ultra vires except under the emergeny legislation dodge.
Maybe we should hire George to declare one !

Posted by: opit at April 23, 2006 8:46 PM

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