Verizon Stories

Another address for Verizon that might be helpful, or was to one Maryland resister:

Verizon CBO Tax Desk
223 N. Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Fax: 412-361-1160

October 2013

After months of haggling and late fees adding up with Verizon, a success story:

“Well holy moley! I got a letter a few days ago acknowledging that there is a process, and Verizon can follow it, for resisting the Federal Excise Tax, and they credited and removed last month’s FET and late charge. But, the letter said they cannot remove bulk prior accumulations. So I called today and waded thru’ several people and finally convinced them that I had already submitted a request every month for what I thought was 2 years since I resumed resisting the FET, but turned out to actually be over 3 years when I dug out old bills, and that I should not have to re-submit old monthly notifications, and convinced them to  remove the accumulation!!!! Wow! And I confirmed that the St. Pete, FL address to send the notice every month noted on the NWTRCC website is the correct location. Phew-sometimes we win.”
—E.B., Maryland

Verizon, SRC Tax Dept. — MC: FLSP2194, Post Office Box 11328, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-9656

June 2013

Experiences with Verizon remain somewhat inconsistent. For those who still have landlines through Verizon, most seem to be able to have their federal excise tax credited, but here and there a few individuals are in ongoing efforts trying to get a straight answer from the company. One was told they could not credit the past due amount and she just lets the tax add up. There may come a time when the company will get after her with past due charges or threats to cut off service.


Ed Agro in Massachusetts wrote:
“I found that the best way to deal with this used to be to go right to the top, by sending a request or complaint to the CEO or head office of the company, with copies to whatever functionary or lower office one has been dealing with. Back in 2009 when I started my latest round of phone tax refusal via Verizon, I began by contacting their online help, which got me a phone contact, which got me the address of the main office. Here’s a draft of my note to online help that could be adapted by others:
I’m unclear how to refuse to pay the FET on my phone bill while at the same time keeping my account for Verizon services current. I understand that Verizon is required by the [tax code] to forward my refusal to IRS and to credit my bills. Please let me know what I must do in order for this to be carried out. If you do not know, please give me the address or phone number of Verizon corporate headquarters or an ombudsman. I apologize for making your clerks’ work difficult and wish to continue subscribing to Verizon. But refusal of a tax that at least historically has gone to pay for unnecessary military adventures is also important to me. Thanks for your consideration.”

Oct. 2010

I’ve gotten Verizon to integrate my online phone-bill payments with my Federal Excise Tax (FET) refusals, and to present me with more or less timely accountings of the cumulative refusals.

* I pay the bills online, deducting the refused amount.

* I send a postal note declaring the amount refused and reason thereof to
P.O. Box 2004
Andover MA 01810

Caveats & Mutterings:

The method of paying by mail & sending the note to two addresses wasn’t helping keep the accounts straight; it took three months and more for a refusal to be credited to my account. I lay those delays to nothing more than Verizon’s inability to deal with real paper.

The latest method as per the Summary above eliminates at least the letter to the billing clerks, which saves a stamp & paper.

The address given above also happens to be that of the Verizon Ombudsperson (or a least the Ombudsperson for Eastern Mass.), which I got by asking one of the many Verizon reps I talked to if they had one.

Besides writing to the Ombud, I also sent a mailform reply to the billing contact on the Verizon webpage. The two communications were rather different: My email to the billing contact focused on getting the online list of adjustments up to date, while that to the Ombud. rattled on about the need for Verizon to treat war tax refusers consistently & promptly. The Ombud hasn’t yet favored me with a written reply, but I believe I got the summary information as quickly as I did because I’d sent the two notes – there’s nothing like getting two people to talk things over in an office in order to get results.

It was interesting to me that the person I take to be the Ombusd’s front thanked me for making my refusal statements short & to the point. All they need, she stated, is that I make clear that I’m refusing as a matter of “resistance to war” (her words). She further offered that without this formula Verizon would be unable to credit my bill. I would’ve like to talk more with her about this, but we were both busy, and I don’t like to put people in a position of feeling they’re being forced to reveal their secrets.

It would be nice to know if FET refusers in other Verizon regions get the same contact info for their ombudsman or obudswoman, and if the reps you speak to make your payments as easy as mine, or more complicated.

So wha have I gained by my rigmaroles? A satisfying gesture made easier, yes. Stopping the wars of the moment, not a bit. Giving some traction to the idea that there’s nothing exceptional in a citizen acting out “No” as part of the ordinary course of business, well, that’s something.

—E.A., Boston

(reply to above)

And one other thing you perhaps have gotten from all this — training in patience and in giving the message and explaining your resistance many times.  (Though it would have been more convenient if Verizon gotten its act together earlier, since they didn’t, it became an opportunity to practice patience).  I had such experiences with Verizon for many years (now I’m in ATT territory and things are much more straightforward).
— J.M., Los Angeles

Feb. 2007

Verizon may be engaging in a practice of putting obstacles in the say of phone tax resistors. This morning when I called in to give notice that I would be withholding the federal tax on my January bill I was told that I needed to submit it in writing. I told the agent that in the distant past I had had to submit a notice in writing every month but a few years ago Verizon told me that written notice would not be accepted and that I needed to call in each month.

I demanded too know what the real policy was. When I was connected to a supervisor I was again told that notice had to be submitted every month in writing. When I said that if Verizon was arbitrarily putting obstacles in the path of those trying to withhold money Verizon had no lawful right to enforce I would file a complaint with the Public Utility Commission the supervisor “looked up the regulations” and discovered that if notice has been given in writing once subsequent notices only need to be by phone.

So it worked out. But Verizon may now be actively trying to confuse if not actually prevent people trying to properly withhold federal tax from the phone bill.

—S., Maine

Nov. 2006

I called the Verizon number (800-837-4966) re/ the $5. monthly charge that they started charging us. The woman I spoke with was very cooperative. At first she thought I was asking to have my cell phone federal tax put onto my tax form or tax return, which I guess is what they’re doing these days. When I said no, and explained what I was after, she said she had never heard of this and would ask around. She called me back 3 days later and said she is taking both $5 charges off (two months worth), plus she will try to take all back accrued unpaid federal excise tax off (for the last 5 years.)

I do think it is random and depends on the person you talk to. She said we’ll have to call every month for them to take our excise tax off, but that she’ll have it written into our record, so that whoever takes our call will be authorized to do it.

—M.L., New York

Feb. 2005

Does Persistence Pay – Article in NWTRCC’s newsletter, More Than A Paycheck

(Dec. 2005)
After years of having to send monthly letters, with my unpaid excise tax getting removed almost monthly after my requests, Verizon wrote me a couple of years ago that letters would no longer be necessary, and they now credit and remove amounts without my writing. (Of course they advised me that they would be informing IRS of my refusals). Perhaps it’s that these BIG companies have so many offices dealing with us (meaning us as customers generally, and naturally therefore also with us excise tax refusers) that there are different stories. I was writing an office in St. Petersburg, Fla., though I’m in Los Angeles. The address is: Verizon, SRC Tax Dept. — MC: FLSP2194, Post Office Box 11328, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-9656.

— J.M., California

Fall 2005

Your “warning” about Verizon being “uncooperative” is well placed. A couple of years ago, despite repeated letters and dozens of endless phone calls, my balance due kept increasing. THEN they started to charge me interest on the balance due! Except for one, all the agents I talked to tried to help. I think the company is just too large and bureaucratic.

Due to other circumstances, I stopped using Verizon. I refused to pay the final bill and, surprise, they dropped the matter.

Also due to unfair circumstances, I was forced to sign up with them last year. Instead of paying the local office, I sent my bills to the Florida address. Each time I enclosed a lengthy explanation of my moral and religious objections to all war. Behold, after doing this twice I received action on their part and am now credited the FET monthly!! Glory, glory.

— J.S., California

I resist with Verizon with much success. One time an operator told me I had to call the FCC and steadfastly refused to help me despite my refusal history. I said OK, hung up, called Verizon again, got a different operator and was taken care of. This may not be the most easy thing to do when writing, but it worked over the phone.

— M.C.

Re: my experiences with Verizon since September 2001:

My 9/11 agreement with Verizon and the Virginia State Corporation Commission was that Verizon would credit my account for improperly charged late payments and unpaid federal taxes to date and that I would pay the balance due minus federal taxes and late charges. I also agreed to send my future Verizon payments minus federal tax to one address and a monthly tax notification card indicating how much federal tax I was redirecting to another addresses supplied by Verizon.

Verizon credited my account. I paid the balance and I began sending my payments minus the federal tax as agreed.

This agreement worked for one month. After that, Verizon began to mess up again. Verizon then asked me to send my tax notification card to another address. I did. The billing was still inaccurate. I was not always getting the federal tax credited to my bill in a timely way and late charges were being added. I wasn’t able to solve the problem with any of the many Verizon operators, supervisors, and middle management personnel I was able to contact. I kept notes and records of all my conversations with Verizon representatives and I made audio tape recordings as a memory aid for my own use.

In September 2002, I began sending my payments and federal tax notification information to Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon CEO, 1095 Avenue of Americas, 41st floor, New York, NY 10036. I also sent Mr. Seidenberg a letter of explanation with detailed documentation outlining the ongoing problem. I did not receive a response nor was my letter acknowledged.

I also contacted my Virginia State Senator for assistance. He indicated to me that Verizon’s requirement that I send my payment to one address and a tax notification to another didn’t make sense to him. I agreed and told him that other telephone companies I was doing business with (Working Assets and AT&T) did not impose this requirement and that I had no problem with either company. He agreed to look into the matter with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

During this period, I received a series of threatening letters from Verizon telling me that if I did not pay my bill, my telephone service would be curtailed. I responded to each of these threats with phone calls to Verizon. This process was very difficult because each time I would be shunted to a different Verizon representative. Notes attached to my account by the various Verizon representatives did not always match what I was told. I know this because I kept my own notes and an audio voice recording of each conversation.

Despite promises by some Verizon representatives that my service would not be curtailed until this issue was resolved, my service was cut off. I had to do some difficult negotiating to get my service restored, but I was back in service within a few hours. I was able to do this without paying or promising to pay the federal tax, late charges, service restoral charge, and/or other improperly billed charges.

I received a letter dated January 7, 2003 from a Verizon Customer Relations Representative in Virginia. This letter acknowledged receipt of the letter I sent to Mr. Seidenberg on December 19, 2002. The PR person apologized for “the inconvenience this situation has caused” me. It also stated that, “the Virginia State Corporation Commission will address your concerns.” My concerns have not been addressed by the Virginia State Corporation Commission to date.

My ongoing adventure with Verizon is part of acting out my awareness. As a pacifist, I believe that peace is patriotic. I feel that it as my duty as a responsible citizen is to be aware and to pay my taxes for peace. I also believe that it is the duty of a responsible government to provide me, and like-minded others, with a choice to be a war taxpayer or a peace taxpayer. I am determined to work very hard to help gain this choice for all of us.

— E.P., Virginia

Each time I read of… misadventures with Verizon I wonder how I’ve (finally) been luckier. For about five or so years I’ve been sending monthly notices to an address in Florida. Here it is: Verizon SRC Tax Dept. — MC: FLSP2194, Post Office Box 11328, St. Petersburg, FL 33733.

Yes, this does involve my sending them a letter in addition to sending my payment someplace else. The Florida people sometimes get behind a month, rarely more, and my letter includes a description of what has been left on my account from previous months (if something has been left on).

— J.M., California

I’ve gotten Verizon to integrate my online phone-bill payments with my Federal Excise Tax (FET) refusals, and to present me with more or less timely accountings of the cumulative refusals.