After media reports that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will not be updating the "listed property" rule for employer-provided cell phones, I issued the following statement:
"CTIA appreciates Commissioner Shulman’s decision to suspend efforts to update the ‘listed property’ rule for employer-provided mobile devices. The existing rule is an anachronism and it can’t be saved simply by giving it a facelift. That’s why we are focused on continuing to secure congressional support for the MOBILE Act, which enjoys broad bipartisan support on both sides of the Capitol. It is our hope that Congress act soon to help employers and employees alike by repealing this absurd, outdated rule."
When cell phones were added to the listed property rule in 1989, mobile phone use was uncommon and cell phones were considered luxury items. Despite the near ubiquity of mobile devices today, employees are still required to maintain logs detailing their business use on a mobile device. Specifically, individuals are expected to record: (1) the amount of such expense or other item, (2) the time and place of the use of the property, (3) the business purpose of the expense, and (4) the business relationship to the taxpayer of the persons using the property. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and John Ensign (R-NV) and Representatives Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) have sponsored the MOBILE Act (S. 144/H.R. 690) to address this matter.