WASHINGTON, June 16 The Obama administration on
Tuesday said it will back repealing a hard-to-enforce tax on
personal use of work cell phones, appeasing the business
community, phone makers and users.
A 1989 law requires companies seeking to deduct worker
cellphones as an expense to track personal use with painstaking
documentation of minutes. The government, in a notice last week
sought public comment on making compliance easier, but now says
the law should be scrapped altogether.
Treasury "Secretary (Timothy) Geithner and I ask 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 cellphones provided by employers,"
Douglas Shulman, the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner,
said in a statement.
"The passage of time, advances in technology, and the
nature of communication in the modern workplace have rendered
this law obsolete," the statement added.
Under current law, workers are required to pay tax on
personal use of a work cellphone as a fringe benefit.
The U.S. House of Representatives last year passed a repeal
of the law, and the Senate got 60 sponsors for its bid. The
measures, which have bipartisan backing, have been reintroduced
again this year.
The Chamber of Commerce and cell phone trade group wrote
key lawmakers earlier this month, arguing for repeal.