VoIP provider not allowed refund of excise tax | KPMG | US

VoIP provider not allowed refund of federal communications excise tax

VoIP provider not allowed refund of excise tax

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today affirmed a grant of summary judgment for the government in an action for refund of federal communications excise tax.

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The case is: 8x8, Inc. v. United States, 2016-1959 (Fed. Cir. April 27, 2017). Read the Federal Circuit’s decision [PDF 126 KB]

The company was a provider of local and long-distance telephone services over a broadband internet connection by means of “voice over internet protocol” (VoIP). It filed a claim for refund of more than $1 million of section 4251 federal communications excise tax, which was disallowed by the IRS.  The company filed a refund suit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which granted the government’s summary judgment motion and denied the company’s claim for refund.

The Federal Circuit today affirmed, noting that the company, as a “collector” of the excise tax, did not bear the economic burden of the tax.  Because the company neither repaid the collected tax to its customers, nor obtained their consent to the claim for refund, the company did not have standing as a matter of law to seek a refund of the excise tax paid by its customers.

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