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Refund of Long-Distance Telephone Taxes

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the something-new-to-go-with-my-1040-oh-joy dept.

303

pertelote writes "Over 108 years after financing the Spanish American War, the tax on long-distance phone calls is finally being repealed. The IRS is supposed to refund our last three years worth of taxes for both landlines and cell phones on our returns next year. The phone companies sued because they did not want the hassle of collecting the tax. The tax is no longer in effect on 31 July, 2006." Don't get too excited about a big windfall. From the article: "Consumers, who pay about 40 percent of the taxes collected, typically pay about $18 a year in excise taxes if they have a long-distance service and a cellphone. They will be able to file for a refund on their 2006 federal income tax returns."

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303 comments

Photo Op? (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409553)

Is the president going to play dress-up, get into an air force uniform, land on an air craft carrier near the Straight of Gibraltar and declare the Spanish American War finally over?

Re:Photo Op? (4, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409646)

Neah... Forget it...

After all his clone on this side of the pond did not bother getting on board of the HMS Illustrious to declare the end of the Great War with Germany finally over on the 24th November 2005.

For the humour and history defficient out there:

1. Britain introduced drinking establishment licensing laws to improve the quality of ammunition shipped to the German front in WWI and minimise the number of workers showing up to work incapacitated. Hurray for the war effort against the great enemy, hurray, hurray
2. These laws stayed in force till 24th November 2005
3. When the changes of the laws were discussed and introduced every single idiot neocon in the country was prophessing that the world will end on 24th November 2005 or soon thereafter. It is still there and still as boring as it was.

And do not even get me started on income tax and napoleonic wars...

Re:Photo Op? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15410026)

After all his clone on this side of the pond did not bother getting on board of the HMS Illustrious to declare the end of the Great War with Germany finally over on the 24th November 2005.

Well, not for us Germans. In 1902, Kaiser Wilhelm introduced a champagne tax (which actually affects everything above a certain alcohol level) to finance the German navy. It was abolished 1933 but reintroduced 1939 (again, to pay for the fleet and the war in general). It still exists... :)

Re:Photo Op? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409665)

Is the president going to play dress-up, get into an air force uniform, land on an air craft carrier near the Straight of Gibraltar and declare the Spanish American War finally over?

Either your with us, or your with the telephonists.

Re:Photo Op? (2, Insightful)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409670)

Is the president going to play dress-up, get into an air force uniform, land on an air craft carrier near the Straight of Gibraltar and declare the Spanish American War finally over?

... with a huge "Mission Accomplished" banner floating overhead!

Re:Photo Op? (1, Interesting)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409696)

Is the president going to play dress-up, get into an air force uniform, land on an air craft carrier near the Straight of Gibraltar and declare the Spanish American War finally over?


Don't even joke about that, as part of his constituency believes the U.S. is being invaded by "reconquistadors."
Not to mention that it's a lot easier to ship people to Guantanamo from Mexico. Oh, he'd probably use that as an excuse to try to "liberate" Havana, like in 1898. Cuba was the only Spanish colony in the area that we didn't take over and declare a U.S. Territory, after the original war's end. So we have to go back, and make democracy safe from exploding cigars.

Re:Photo Op? (2, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410207)

While I realize that the 'reconquistadores' are a small minority, there really are those who believe that the American Southwest was stolen from Mexico and that it should and must be returned to Mexico. There's an even smaller minority within that group that believes that Aztlan -- comprised in their view of the American Southwest and roughly half of Mexico -- should be combined into its own nation separate from the USA and Mexico.

Re:Photo Op? (2, Interesting)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409805)

Is the president going to play dress-up, get into an air force uniform, land on an air craft carrier near the Straight of Gibraltar and declare the Spanish American War finally over?

I wouldn't call it "over" just yet [wikipedia.org].

Re:Photo Op? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15410208)

You might want to consider the following, albeit shocking, facts:

1. Spain is a country located in Europe.
2. "Latin America" is the name given to Spanish-speaking countries.
3. Spain != Latin America.

I just can't find the connection between the Spanish American War and the Illegal Immigration from Latin American countries to the U.S. of A.

People leaving their home country to try to have a living in another country cannot be named a "war", if you could, just enlighten us when the "England - Native American War" is going to end?

Re:Photo Op? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15410209)

I didn't realize we had such a problem with Spanish immigrants. Maybe we should put a fence along our border with Spain...

Re:Photo Op? (1)

ShortBeard (740119) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409995)

Is the president going to play dress-up, get into an air force uniform, land on an air craft carrier near the Straight of Gibraltar and declare the Spanish American War finally over?

No.
He will play dress-up, get into an AirForce flight suit, be landed on a aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Mexico near Corpus Christi and declare "Mission Accomplished".

Re:Photo Op? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15410203)

..and declare the Spanish American War finally over?

Looking through immigration bill... It's just starting!

If you have VoIP, double check your bill. (5, Informative)

XorNand (517466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409563)

The Federal Excise Tax is typically the only tax that US-based VoIP carriers charge their subscribers (if they charge any). Having help start a VoIP company myself, I never understood why other providers charged this tax. We were advised by council that VoIP is not classfied as a "telecommunications service" but rather an "information service" by the FCC, hence was not subject to the tax. Therefore we've never collected a dime in taxes (other than sales tax on equipment sales, of course). I wouldn't expect Vonage to be pocketing that extra 3%, but I wouldn't put it past some of the other companies out there.

FYI: The "Regulatory Recovery Fee" isn't a tax, it's a surcharge that carriers levy to offset the cost of having to comply with federal regulations. However, IMHO, it's a bit disingenuous for VoIP companies to charge this fee since they aren't actually regulated.

Re:If you have VoIP, double check your bill. (2, Informative)

faedle (114018) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409630)

While we might not be "regulated", many VoIP companies use the "Regulatory fees" to recover their costs when those same fees are passed on to us on the circuits we buy. Facilities-based providers (especially small ones that are buying DIDs "PBX-style" on T1s) are often paying fees and taxes on those lines the same way a medium-size business would.

But, on the other hand, if you think the "regulatory compliance fees" you pay on your landline bill don't just go into the pocket of the phone company, you need to actually read the laws. A lot of the money from these things (including the "Interstate access fee") simply goes into funds that the phone companies draw upon to pay taxes and business expenses that any other business (like, say, the corner grocery store) would just simply add into their profit and loss calculations..

Re:If you have VoIP, double check your bill. (1)

XorNand (517466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409778)

Every business pays myriad taxes (which may or may not get passed to the customer, depending on how price sensitive the customer is and how competitive the market is.) VoIP providers are not regulated, hence a "regulatory recovery fee" is a non-sequitur. Adding an extra line-item fee, buried in the fine print along with obsure sounding taxes, is being deliberately disingenuous.

I don't doubt that telcoms started the whole dishonest trend and are the biggest perpetuators. It's just unfortunate that some VoIP companies are choosing to ride their coat tails.

Suspicious Vonage Bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409731)

Interesting - I'm using Vonage, and I have the $15, 500 minutes/month plan.

Here's a look at the latest invoice:

Residential Basic 500 (01/May-31/May) $14.99
International Calls (01/Apr-30/Apr) $6.15
Regulatory Recovery Fee $0.99
Emergency 911 Cost Recovery $0.99
Federal Excise Tax $0.69
Total Amount $23.81

I whipped out the calculator, and it seems that they are charging 3% Federal excise tax on the sum of all the figures above it. Is this correct? Are they supposed to charge excise tax on the 911 fee, and the regulatory recovery fee?

Re:Suspicious Vonage Bill (2, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409967)

Vonage chared that 3% fee even when my first month of service was free.

I tried to explain that $0 * 3% = 0. They didn't seem to understand.

Re:Suspicious Vonage Bill (1)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410154)

Vonage chared that 3% fee even when my first month of service was free.

I tried to explain that $0 * 3% = 0. They didn't seem to understand.


It's made free by applying an instant rebate. So, you're charged your monthly service charge, that's taxed and feed, then you're discounted the amount of your monthly service charge. Works the same way with mail-in rebates - you have to pay sales tax on the full amount of the sale, then you receive a rebate check later. Only difference here is that the rebate is immediate.

If it were private industry (5, Interesting)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409583)

This would be a clear cut case of fraud. Since the tax was imposed for a specific reason and obviously has not been used for that in the last 100 years or so, someone should go after the Federal Govt for fraud. Now that would be interesting.

It isnt that far fetched either, say your local community imposed an extra $20 on property taxes to be used for technology in schools and in reality it was used to buy a new Benz as a "govt vehicle" for the mayor, there would be significant problems.

Re:If it were private industry (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409613)

nah, direct income tax was brought in in England as a temporary measure to help cover a government shortfall, well over a hundered years later we're still paying it... this stuff happens all the time, governments rarely have true hypothecated taxes; and even if they did I doubt that they'd be legally bound to it

Re:If it were private industry (2, Insightful)

Elvis Parsley (939954) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409632)

Unless the original legislation specifically states that the tax was enacted to defeat those damn'd Spaniards, "fraud" strikes me as overreaching. It'd be more like a company raised its prices because its suppliers were charging them more, then decided to keep them at that level when it discovered that the market would bear that price even after its suppliers' prices dropped again. Bad administration? Sure. Greedy? No argument with that. But criminal? Doubt it.

Re:If it were private industry (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410222)

That would be a private company, as opposed to a government giving you no (realistic) choice but to comply. This is like if the government says "We do not torture", then doing so anyway when they discover the people support it. Oh, wait...

Reason to oppose special purpose taxes/programs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409691)

This is an example why special purpose taxes and government programs should be opposed because they never die even though the reason why they were created has long since passed. The FCC "Universal Service" tax is one that needs to go since 99+ percent of homes have access to a telephone. TVA rural electrification's original purpose has long since passed.

Re:If it were private industry (2)

ahodgson (74077) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409785)

I'm really hoping World War I ends soon, so we in Canada can be relieved of the burden of the Temporary War Measures Income Tax Act.

Re:If it were private industry (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409801)

I'm not sure why someone modded this funny. This is only a small part of the fraud that is the US Federal Government. The way they justify new taxes on us and increase their power at home is by creating foreign conflict. Basically it is nothing but a bunch of fearmongering. We see this pattern time and time again, and it has been happening since way before the Spanish American War in 1898. It continues to happen today with Iraq and "the terrorists".

VOIP.. (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409587)

Bowing to changes in technology and pressure from taxpayers and phone companies

Hmm, interesting, I don't recall any taxpayers moaning about this particular tax.. I would say it's mainly phone companies..

Another indication VOIP is taking a toll on their business? Perhaps "pressuring" this move is good publicity?

Re:VOIP.. (1)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409767)

Hmm, interesting, I don't recall any taxpayers moaning about this particular tax.. I would say it's mainly phone companies..
Obviously we went to different colleges. Resistance to the phone tax has always very popular among anti-war activists. It is quite common for them to refuse to pay it. [nwtrcc.org]

Re:VOIP.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409827)

Taxpayers have become too used to all the taxes and fees tacked onto their "low low rates" from the phone company that they've given up complaining.

I read it differently... (3, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409849)

>Bowing to changes in technology and pressure from taxpayers and phone companies

The deeper significance here is that taxpayers don't mean squat but phone companies can get things done.

I'm not surprised, I always knew dollars were stronger than votes. I just hate having my nose rubbed in it.

Steve

I have a better idea on how we can save money (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409588)

I don't want a refund. I want my money to go toward funding the FBI teams that are going after Rep. Jefferson. I want them expanded by several hundred agents and to have what happened to Jefferson to happen to the entire Congress. You want to save money? Bush the sons of bitches who spend nearly $2B on bridges to nowhere, $1B on repairing and then moving a perfectly good railroad and all of that other pork barrel crap. Sorry, they can keep my $18/year in exchange for the FBI continuing to go after these scumbags. I'd consider that some of the best $18 I've ever spent.

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (2, Informative)

paiute (550198) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409682)

I don't want a refund. I want my money to go toward funding the FBI teams that are going after Rep. Jefferson. I want them expanded by several hundred agents and to have what happened to Jefferson to happen to the entire Congress. You want to save money? Bush the sons of bitches who spend nearly $2B on bridges to nowhere, $1B on repairing and then moving a perfectly good railroad and all of that other pork barrel crap. Sorry, they can keep my $18/year in exchange for the FBI continuing to go after these scumbags. I'd consider that some of the best $18 I've ever spent.

Problem is, the system rewards those who bring home the pork. See, the pork spent in your district is an investment, the pork spent in the other guy's state is wasted. We can put the whole of Congress in FPYITA prison. The newly-elected replacements will preach financial responsibility and restraint for about two election cycles, then it will be right back where it was.

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409735)

The newly-elected replacements will preach financial responsibility and restraint for about two election cycles, then it will be right back where it was.


I doubt it will take more than one cycle, because when they all want to get re-elected, they're gonna need some big campaign financing to fend off upstarts complaining about how the government isn't "creating jobs" by giving away money, anymore.

I have a better idea on how we can save pork. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409966)

"Problem is, the system rewards those who bring home the pork. See, the pork spent in your district is an investment, the pork spent in the other guy's state is wasted. We can put the whole of Congress in FPYITA prison. The newly-elected replacements will preach financial responsibility and restraint for about two election cycles, then it will be right back where it was."

Of course it will. The people preaching fiscal responsability, mean they want it applied to someone elses "pork". Hands off their "investment".* And les you all forget the ones doing the preaching are you and I. So point all we want to the other guy, just don't forget yourselves.

*Oh you know. "save our [IT] jobs", "unemployment is bad in our state. Do something!", "that [insert your pet peeve here] is picking on me. Do something!", "gas prices are too high. do something!" With "doing something! usually requiring money.

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (0, Troll)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409996)

I think the best way to get rid of pork is to go back to the state governments electing the members of Senate, instead of having the people elect them.

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410149)

I think the best way to get rid of pork is to go back to the state governments electing the members of Senate, instead of having the people elect them.

Yeah, that worked so well [hnn.us] before...State governments are of course known for being free of corruption, cronyism, and polticial machines that block out any citizen involvment.

And of course State governments wouldn't have any motivation for sending Senators who would bring pork to their State. No sir-ee-bob.

BTW, I have this bridge for sale. E-mail me for details, you'll love it. :-)

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (1)

tddoog (900095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409820)

I don't want a refund. I want my money to go toward funding the FBI teams that are going after Rep. Jefferson. I want them expanded by several hundred agents and to have what happened to Jefferson to happen to the entire Congress.

I like how congress gets all up in arms claiming the executive branch violated the constitution by searching a congressional office. I didn't see most of them raising a fuss when they found out that Americans were being wiretapped without warrants or collecting a database of every phone call. Now that there offices can be searched by the FBI they are scared and will have to find a new place to hide their skeletons.

What about Rep. Kennedy, who was caught by the capitol police after he ran into a barricade, while under the influence. He is admittedly addicted to prescription drugs. That was quietly swept under the rug.

The real shame is that most of what congress does is legal, albeit completely unethical.

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (2, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409917)

He is admittedly addicted to prescription drugs. That was quietly swept under the rug.

If it was "quietly swept under the rug" why do you know about it? National media sttention: not exactly the definition of "quietly" to me.

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (3, Insightful)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410117)

And being driven home by the police and being told "don't do it again" is hardly a serious investigation.

Compared to what has been done to Rush Limbaugh for a similar problem (though he didn't nearly hit a police car) I'd say the Kennedy incident was nicely 'swept' under the rug. Like father [wikipedia.org] like son...

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (0, Flamebait)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409906)

I'd consider that some of the best $18 I've ever spent.

$18 to permanently impose a fascist state in the US.

Yep. Money well spent!

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (2, Insightful)

flosofl (626809) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410246)

$18 to permanently impose a fascist state in the US.

Are you seriously suggesting that Congress is above the laws they themsleves enact? How is conducting a search with a legitimate warrant an act of fascism?

I would think the opposite is true. The fact that Congress appears to suggest some kind of special "immunity" from due-process is the far larger danger.

Until the jackboots kick down the doors of Congress and they are denied due-process, they shouldn't be bitching about this.

Re:I have a better idea on how we can save money (3, Funny)

Opie812 (582663) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410228)

I want my money to go toward funding the FBI teams that are going after Rep. Jefferson. I want them expanded by several hundred agents and to have what happened to Jefferson to happen to the entire Congress.

Jeeze dude, how much tax do you pay?

It will stay on phone bills (4, Interesting)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409591)

What do you bet the tax stays on your phone bill anyway? It is a well-known fact that phone companies attach all sorts of fees disguised as taxes, some of which actually go into their own pockets. So their costs will be lowered, but for phone customers its just another day.

Re:It will stay on phone bills (1)

l5rfanboy (977086) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409637)

How many people routinely read their statement for these fees and taxes and actually follow up on from where they come, why they are assessed, and to where they are going? For most people (granted, myself included), it's just "smile and nod" day when the bills come 'round.

Income Tax (5, Insightful)

mulhollandj (807571) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409598)

Are they ever going to repeal income tax which was only supposed to be 2% max? Many of us pay over 50% in taxes if you include gas tax, sales tax, income tax, property tax, etc etc.

Re:Income Tax (2, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409947)

Many of us pay over 50% in taxes

There's probably plenty of you who pay more than that. This year, your Tax Freedom Day falls on June 3 Tax Freedom Day [adamsmith.org]

Re:Income Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15410037)

Maybe after the 100th anniversary of WW1. Income tax was enacted to finance it.

Hermitage Tax (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15410049)

"Are they ever going to repeal income tax which was only supposed to be 2% max?"

Don't use any of societies services, and we stop asking for money from you. Deal?

Re:Income Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15410106)

That's what people get when they don't vote straight Libertarian. They get money taken from them at gunpoint.

_______________________________________
A vote against a Libertarian candidate is
a vote to abolish the Constitution itself.

there's no temproary tax or program (4, Insightful)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409599)

for those of here in California, you might remember the sales tax history. it was capped at 6% forever, then when the earthquake hit northern california in 1989, they allowed a "temporary" sales tax increase to help pay for it. Well, it's going on 17 years now and Los Angeles is 8.25% and isn't going down anytime soon. The same is true of spending. It only gets larger and grows, which is the source of our current economic problems and even longer term nightmare. I understand alot of the political sympathies around here, many at odds with mine (mostly foriegn policy related) but at least there'd be enough sentiment for small governemnt. big brother is big brother, whether he's listening to your phone calls OR taking half your paycheck.

Re:there's no temproary tax or program (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409689)

Emergency taxes should have expiration dates on them to prevent such a thing.

Re:there's no temproary tax or program (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409800)

Actually all emergency legislation should have expiration dates on it. I.e., anything that's done as a kneejerk response to some particular event: school shootings, 9/11, whatever. Anything made that way ought to have an automatic expiration date associated with it, so that it can be evaluated by clearer minds, further down the road.

I think some sort of system which had two paths for legislation would be good. An "emergency path" that required less votes to close down debate, but could only produce laws valid for the remainder of that legislative body's term, or a "standard path" that required a supermajority that could produce laws that have no expiration date.

Laws produced in response to particular catastrophic events are generally some of the worst legal constructs we have, and are almost always plagued with unintended consequences. While to me this seems like it ought to be obvious (using the legal system to solve or react to a particular social problem is like using a Minuteman III to kill a fly), Congress too often falls into the trap of just "doing something" because they want to justify their paychecks, and they deepen the legal morass that we're in as a nation.

Re:there's no temproary tax or program (3, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410044)

Personally I think ALL laws should have an expiration date. And each law must be voted on seperately.

We have some pretty antiquated laws that should just die. You get the added benefit that Congress is too busy keeping murder laws on the books to introduce stupider laws!

Re:there's no temproary tax or program (1)

deadlinegrunt (520160) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409813)

Corruption in public office shouldn't be tolerated either to prevent such a thing - what's your point?

Re:there's no temproary tax or program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15410132)

big brother is big brother, whether he's listening to your phone calls OR taking half your paycheck

If he's taking half your paycheck (he's taking half of mine;) then you simply don't make enough money, nor do you make it the right way.

You need capital gains rather than income, they're always lowering THAT tax. And if you make a million or more per year, the gasoline, beer, and other excise taxes are less than a fraction of a percent of your income, your Social Security and Medicare taxes are the same as if you only made 75k/yr (make Microsoft and Gates pay the same 15% you and your employer pay and we'll have no SS shortfall).

In Illinois where income is taxed at 3% and sales are taxed at 7%, the fry cook pays 10% of his income in state taxes (since he lives hand to mouth) while the millionaire may pay 1% or less ofhis income in sales taxes.

At least I finally stopped paying the cigarette tax six years ago!

You (and I) simply aren't rich enough.

Spanish-American War Over? (3, Funny)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409607)

It's over? Does Bush know about this?

Re:Spanish-American War Over? (1)

jayayeem (247877) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409661)

Not as far as I am concerned! To arms, my Brothers! Remember the Maine!

Re:Spanish-American War Over? (4, Funny)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410012)

Not as far as I am concerned! To arms, my Brothers! Remember the Maine!

Hell yes! I say we storm the Spanish beaches and drink all their wine and eat all their tapas. Oh yeah, and take lots of photos. And maybe visit a few art musuems and ...

Re:Spanish-American War Over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15410123)

That's a lot of wine and tapas. Good luck!

Re:Spanish-American War Over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409732)

Stay the course.

Re:Spanish-American War Over? (1)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409816)

Fuck, don't tell him. He'll probably declare someone a terrorist and start it again!

VOIP (2, Insightful)

bostonkarl (795447) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409614)

This is all about VOIP. And how VOIP doesn't pay these taxes. Traditional services complete with VOIP.

The relevance of long distance in an age of VoIP (1)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409648)

It does make you wonder when the feds are going to get around to taxing VoIP esepcially as it becomes more relevent. Meatspace long distance calls are the last great hold out in the analog to digital conversion. I haven't paid a Verizon bill in two years and LOVE it that way. Just seems like there should be a tax coming soon.

The Nature of Taxes (5, Interesting)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409664)

The only reason this is getting appealed is because it was originally for the Spanish American War (Remember the Maine!). It was a humourous enough example to get someone in Congress to actually repeal this tax.

Generally, taxes never die. So be very cautious about adding a new one.

Pennsylvania still has the "Jonestown Flood Tax". A 18% excise tax on alcohol meant to raise funds for the flood that occured in 1889 or something like that.

Re:The Nature of Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409729)

I haven't heard of the Jonestown tax. It could be a Johnstown tax though.

Re:The Nature of Taxes (1)

g_adams27 (581237) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409776)


Right, and not only that - the other lesson is "Beware of taxes that apply only to the rich; they may one day apply to you too."

Re:The Nature of Taxes (2, Informative)

im_mac (927998) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409802)

That would be the Johnstown Flood tax and it was passed in 1936. Here's the PA Restaurants lobbying for a better alcohol taxes [parestaurant.org] and giving a bit more info.

Re:The Nature of Taxes (2, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410089)

PA has bigger problems relating to alcohol than taxing.

Foremost, the state controls all alcohol sales. Last I heard though, they were doign to do a 'trial' and allow some grocery stores to sell beer and wine. What a forward thinking state! Nevermind that I think every state surrounding it has already allowed those alcohol products (and more) to be sold just about everywhere.

Unfortunatly PA is ruled by a bunch of 80 year olds that don't want anything to change from the 1930s. Philadelphia offsets this somewhat, but when you have the second highest number of elderly in the country, don't bet on anything changing soon.

Re:The Nature of Taxes (1)

jrmcferren (935335) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409986)

Well, if you take a look at the Johnstown economy, it is doing well, except in tech. I live in Johnstown (and will until December of `07). The Johnstown area is very nice.

Why do we have to file? They have our records (3, Insightful)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409676)

If they already have our phone records, couldn't they just analyze them to see who is elgible for the refund?

Re:Why do we have to file? They have our records (1)

archen (447353) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409838)

You seem to be confused. This is the government we're talking about, and you're talking about efficency :)

Re:Why do we have to file? They have our records (1)

citizenc (60589) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410064)

Same reason that you have to mail in your receipt, UPC code, and serial number if you want a rebate: if you don't ask for it, they don't have to give it to you. Therefore, they can continue earning interest on it.

Make Room! (0)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409686)

For the Iraq Reconstruction Tax. I'm looking forward to paying this one for the nex 100 years.

</masochist>

Maybe they could tackle this tax next.... (4, Informative)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409716)

The myriad of taxes on airline tickets. Ever since 1980 the feds have put a 10% tax on all airline tickets and the fund is doing nothing except offsetting the deficit. If you think about it, that's a ton of money. Airports got fed up and start charging PFC (passenger facility charges) which you see on yout ticket ranging from 3.00 - 6.00.

Ever pay attention to the taxes on your tickets after you buy them? In some low cost fare markets it increases the cost by almost 100%.

Then there's the "fuel surcharges" that airlines charge that never get refunded or repealed.

At least regarding long distance I have a choice NOT to use a meatspace carrier like Verizon. Give me help with air travel! Yikes!

At long last! (1)

Rendo (918276) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409742)

At long last, we shall live in a time of peace and prosperity, the costly war against the Spanish is now over!! Our children will grow up not fearing the consequences of War!

You lucky, lucky bastards! (2, Funny)

DataCannibal (181369) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409751)

You Americans have it easy. We Brits are still paying income tax, which was originally raised to pay for the Napoleonnic wars !

those damn liberals (-1, Troll)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409754)

They still talk about how Bush screwed up the war against Iraq, saying that this never-ending war is unprecendented: buckle up for the next 108 years...

and this will be well thought out (1)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409775)

we'll be able to itemize every cell phone user in our household, right? and each seperate phone line? And for the 8 month contract I did where i rented a house I had phone service at two locations?

Re:and this will be well thought out (1)

udoschuermann (158146) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410145)

It's a ploy to connect the NSA's phone records with your identity. Now the government has a corresponding "business relationship" with you. It may consider you a terrorist for draining them of funds. Instead of merely correllating your calls they can justify actually listening in on them.

And you know the really scary thing? I'm not even sure if I'm joking...

Just what the conquistadors have been waiting for (2, Funny)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#15409850)

Now that the US defense is no longer funded, the time for a new Spanish conquest has arrived.

at the telcos' request? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15409860)

Funny how the tax is removed just as the telcos are about to have to face new competition from voip providers.

The local phone tax is still there (2, Interesting)

EaglesNest (524150) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410033)

The big crime, the excise tax on local phone service that applies to every land line, is still there. I haven't used a land line to make long distance calls in years. But I still have a land line. Wake me up when I can save money by not paying the tax on it.

Good news and bad news (3, Funny)

Johnny5000 (451029) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410095)

The good news is you'll get your $18 back since we don't need to fund the Spanish-American War anymore.

The bad news is they're going to add a tax of $5000/year to your phone bill to fund the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and possibly Iran.

one less tax! (2, Funny)

vinnythenose (214595) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410111)

Hey, don't complain, it's one less tax.

Now up here in Canada if we could get rid of this "temporary wartime tax" from WWII that we call "Income Tax"... :)

The need for greed. (1)

lucienshand (970234) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410198)

What's probably going to happen is that your phone bill will stay the same (or maybe be a buck or two cheaper) and your long distance phone company will make more profit. You see this all the time in Real Estate. When they cut a property tax, the houses for sale (as well as your rent) stays the same. "Inflation makes up the difference", they always seem to say, but the numbers don't quite add up...

Stop bashing taxation...be honest about their uses (3, Insightful)

NorseWarrior (975051) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410242)

We all acknowledge that there is some waste in government....until it comes to the programs you like! Taxes do good things--they generally build roads to somewhere...they pay for schools...they pay for police, fire, and other stuff. In business, you get what you pay for. In business, waste takes on forms like Ken Lay or Jeff Skilling....and other overpaid CEOs. (and, oh yes--it was GOVERNMENT, in the form of prosecutors, not stockholders, who held them accountable.!) Guess what--the principle works the same in government. You get what you pay for. You don't like it--then get involved in the process and change it. This phone tax is a red herring....a right-wing fakeout to avoid the fallout over huge tax cuts to the rich which vastly overshadow the cost of this little sop to the masses. I say keep my $18. Give me good roads, and good schools. Hunt down the criminals. Feed kids who go to bed hungry. And yes--make those who benefit the most in our society bear the burden for taking care of the least among us.

Was this really a tax on Long-Distance calls? (1)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 7 years ago | (#15410251)

Because for years I had no long distance providers. I don't have any old phone bills to look at, because I have gone VoIP. I couldn't make long distance calls on my phone, when I had one. I set it up that way, so I'd have a predictable phone bill. I used calling cards. Are those taxed? I thought that I was taxed just for having phone service. Then again, they had so many fees and other taxes I could just be confused. Yet another reason to cut the cord to the baby bells.
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