Home » AT&T »Consumer News »Public Policy & Gov't »Rural Broadband » Currently Reading:

AT&T Loses Tax Refund Case: Wanted USF Income Treated As “Contributions to Capital”

Phillip Dampier October 4, 2011 AT&T, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't, Rural Broadband No Comments

AT&T has lost a case it appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to win favorable tax treatment for income it received from the Universal Service Fund program, designed to help underwrite the costs of providing rural telephone service.

AT&T was seeking a $500 million income tax refund on its 1998 and 1999 federal taxes from money the government provided AT&T.

Federal tax law requires phone companies to treat the USF revenue as income, subject to regular taxation.  AT&T argued the money was actually a “contribution to capital,” which would have substantially reduced the company’s tax burden.  Contribution to capital, as a concept, has been the subject of several corporate lawsuits over the years.  The genesis of court challenges comes from a 1925 case — Edwards v. Cuba Railroad Co., that held government subsidies provided to induce the construction of facilities and provision of service were not taxable income within the meaning of the Sixteenth Amendment.

AT&T believed that USF funding subsidized the delivery of phone service, so it cannot be considered taxable income.

The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed.  The justices elected to leave intact a lower court ruling that threw AT&T’s arguments aside.

Considering the long history of court losses for other corporate entities who have argued similar cases all the way back to the 1950s, the decision should not come as a surprise to the phone company, and AT&T’s reaction was muted.

“We are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision,” the company said in a statement. “However, AT&T does not expect any impact to our financial statements.”

The case is AT&T v. United States, 10-1204.

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • EJ: Paul you are 100% percent correct, but like I said the reason that fixed wireless is a failure is a lack of investment. You can make fixed wireless wo...
  • mike: I guess they mean like the upgrades Time Warner was in the middle of when the sale went through and Charter then dropped the ax on....
  • Taylor Langdon: I was told on the phone $69.99 was the lowest they'd go. I used online chat after that and got $64.99....
  • Paul Houle: EJ, all too often, "technology agnostic" seems to be a codeword for the same DSL and fixed wireless technologies that have (in the case of DSL...
  • EJ: Kevin S that is not a fair judgement to make. You just have to put requirements on the 25mbps which should be on all providers anyways. Simple require...
  • Kevin S: You (Bloomburg) had me in your corner in 100% support of your views and findings right up until the end...when you stated: "Bloomberg supports the FC...
  • Shaun: The same thing happened when Verizon happened, when Bell took over GTE.. GTE, was more like time warner, and was a decent company.. Bell.. another cha...
  • Shaun: Their own pricing plans proves this to be a lie. You know that the company is not going to give you "any" plan where they are going to "loose" money.....
  • L Nova: I really wish that these companies told wall street to f**k off and do what they feel is right to retain customers. Self-aggrandizing douchenozzles su...
  • Jim Jackson: Yeah when you introduce $65 billion in debt overnight that money has to come from somewhere. There is so little synergies in a cable company merger t...
  • Ronald: How long until those customers realize they get most of the good stuff with just the antenna, and decide they don't need Dish anymore?...
  • cartier repliques bijoux: cartierlovejesduas I remember travelling on the Coronation in 1938 and 1939Teo minutes stop at Newcastle on the way North and two minutes also at York...

Your Account:

%d bloggers like this: