Frequently Asked Questions
- There are so many items on my phone bill, which one is the federal tax?
- Look for the line that says “Federal Excise Tax,” or “Federal Tax.” That is the 3% tax that goes into the general fund. See the phone bill sample on this site or look at the website for you phone company. Many companies detail the bill charges on their websites. Or you can refer to the FCC’s “Charges on Your Phone Bill” page.
- What if the phone company just adds my unpaid taxes to the next phone bill?
- Your phone company should show a credit on your next bill (or maybe the one after). If the company is continuing to accumulate your unpaid excise tax as a past due balance, be sure to call them and tell them that you are resisting the federal excise tax, and that they should credit that amount on your bill and report it to the IRS. Ask for a supervisor if the first person you talk with is not helpful.
- My phone company says I have to fill out a form for this.
- Some companies, such as AT&T, have had a special form for federal tax resisters created by their legal department. The form asks you to check off your reason for refusing the tax, and then they might even drop the tax from your bill, presumably reporting the amount due to the IRS.
Do not let them send you a “Tax Exempt” form. That is for nonprofit organizations and businesses. Explain that you are not tax exempt but are refusing to pay the federal tax because it helps pay for war.
- What if the phone company tries to (or does) cancel my service?
- Try not to let a balance due add up. Take the time to call your company and get the crediting process going so that a balance due does not keep showing on your bills. If they do threaten to cut off your service, be sure to tell them that IRS regulations (Code of Federal Regulations, sect. 49.4291-1, title 26) clearly state that the phone company is supposed to collect the tax, but has no power to enforce collection. Always ask for a supervisor or even the legal department (if they will put you through) if the clerk is not helpful. See the “Stories” page on this website.
- How do I know they are reporting the amount to the IRS?
- You may one day get a bill from the IRS for a small amount that you will recognize as phone tax. Sometimes the IRS letter includes a code that shows the refused amount is from the telephone tax. Some people worry that the phone company is just taking the loss on this, paying the tax, and not reporting the amount to the IRS. At this time it is unclear that this is happening, but in any case, the more people who refuse, the less likely it is that the company will want to pick up the tab.