Legislation Drops Cell Phones from "Listed Property"
But churches should await IRS guidance before changing record-keeping policies.

by Michael Batts

The small business tax relief legislation just passed by Congress and signed by the president includes a long-awaited provision removing cell phones from "listed property" under federal tax law effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2009. As a result, the stringent record-keeping requirements that have applied for decades will no longer apply to cell phones or similar devices.

The practical impact of the legislation likely will be that employers will be able to provide employees with cell phones primarily for business use on a tax-free basis, with little requirement to document the actual business vs. personal use. The law should result in cell phones being treated like any other pieces of equipment, such as regular telephones, for which detailed usage records are not required.

While the legislative change applies to all U.S. employers and employees, the impact on nonprofit organizations is especially important because violations of the record-keeping requirements for "listed property" by nonprofits can result in "automatic excess benefit transaction" penalties on the individuals involved.

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Posted: November 1, 2010
View All
from our store
Managing Church Facility Use

Managing Church Facility Use

Find insights to equip your church to host members and strangers.
Planning a Church Building Project

Planning a Church Building Project

Learn about zoning laws, property sales, church construction, financing, and more.
Your Guide to Employee Handbooks

Your Guide to Employee Handbooks

If updated regularly, an employee handbook can offer valuable legal protection against civil court claims made by disgruntled staff members.
Understanding Wage and Hour Laws

Understanding Wage and Hour Laws

Learn about the Fair Labor Standards Act and how it applies to churches.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.