IRS Weighs Rules for Taxing Private Use of Work Cellphones
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | Personal Technology
JUNE 11, 2009, 4:38 P.M. ET
By MARTIN VAUGHAN
WASHINGTON -- The IRS is weighing a proposal to deem one-quarter of employees' use of work cellphones as personal use and therefore subject to tax as a fringe benefit.Why do I find it hard to believe that, with 20 VOLUMES of Title 26 of the US Code of Federal Regulations (the part written by the IRS) at 13,458 pages plus the text of Title 26 of the United States Code (the part written by Congress) at a mere 3,387 printed pages (bringing the adjusted gross page count to 16,845), the IRS is incapable of simplifying ANYTHING!
The proposal is one of several options the IRS put forward this week on the tax treatment of employer-provided cellphones. Current law already requires that the value of those cellphone services be included in a worker's gross income, unless the employee keeps detailed records showing that the cellphone is used for work only.
But as a practical matter, many companies don't enforce the record-keeping requirements. The IRS proposals from this week aim to simplify the requirements and aid enforcement of the law.