US Treasury repeals Spanish-American Telephone Tax

(via The Consumerist)

Wow! I can hardly believe this. A tax begun 108 years ago to support a war effort has finally been repealed. And you’ll be allowed to claim it on your 2006 tax forms, it seems.

NEW YORK ( – After losing several court battles, the U.S. Treasury on Thursday said it would provide refunds to consumers for a federal excise “luxury” tax on long-distance service, the origins of which date back to 1898 to help pay for the Spanish-American War.

The refund will apply to the 3 percent excise tax billed to them on long-distance service since Feb. 28, 2003 and will include interest. Consumers will be able to claim it on their 2006 tax returns, which they will file in 2007.

. . .

The tax was passed in 1898, when there was no federal income tax and telephone service was something that only the rich had access to. It was designed as a luxury tax to help the government during a time of high military spending.

The amazing thing really is that our government only took a little over 100 years to end the tax. Not bad given the typically eonic pace seen for government “action” on anything.

[tags]Telephone Tax, Spanish-American war[/tags]