Bellsouth Denied Tax Refund Request on Voice Mail Services

Following a recent audit, the Tennessee Department of Revenue determined that Bellsouth Telecommunication’s most basic voice mail service was not taxable, but that other voice mail services (which offered customers extra features and functionality) were, in fact, taxable. The Company’s argument stated that telecommunication services were not the true object of the voice mail services at issue. However, the Department argued, and the Court agreed, that the true object of the service was to facilitate the transmission and receipt of a telephone communication. As a result, the services were subject to tax as a telecommunications service. (Bellsouth Telecommunications, Inc. v. Johnson, Tennessee Court of Appeals, No. M2005-00865-COA-R3-CV, October 27, 2006)

Posted on February 9, 2007