On the Line for a Phone Tax Refund

Are your clients using the standard formula for their refund of federal excise tax (FET) on long-distance phone service? The IRS made it easy: Just compare the FET rates on phone bills for April and September 2006—before and after phone companies quit collecting the tax on anything other than local service—and multiply the difference by the total spent on phone bills for the 41 months the refund covers.

Maybe that’s a little too easy, say consultants offering “FET recovery” services. For many enterprises, the actual excise tax paid is more than double the amount the formula allows, says John Manickam of Wingspread Business Support Services of Raleigh, N.C. (www.wingspreadbss.com). Details are available in The Handbook for Telecommunication Federal Excise Tax Refund, by Manickam and Michael S. Plude, CPA, which is available for $65.99 as a book or download from www.fet-refundhandbook.com . Telecommunications expense management companies also offer the service. Although the refund can be claimed only on 2006 returns, businesses that used the formula may find it worthwhile to file an amended return with actual tax paid, Manickam said.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.