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Business in brief: IRS urges electronic filing

Fri., Jan. 5, 2007

The Internal Revenue Service began its 2007 filing system with instructions on how to apply for newly enacted tax breaks and recommendations that more taxpayers give up paper and file electronically.

The agency said that it will send out 17 million tax packages this week to taxpayers who previously filed paper returns. The IRS expects to process about 136 million individual tax returns for 2006, with more than half filed electronically.

It pointed out that one major change this year will be the telephone excise tax refund. The government stopped collecting the federal excise tax on long-distance service last August and plans to provide refunds for these taxes billed after Feb. 28, 2003 and before Aug. 1, 2006.

The agency said taxpayers can avoid collecting 41 months of old phone bills by choosing standard amounts. Under standard amounts a person filing a return with one exemption can claim $30, with the amount rising to $40 for those with two exemptions, $50 for three exemptions and $60 for four or more exemptions.

Those desiring a refund based on actual amount of taxes paid should use Form 8913.

The agency also advised taxpayers on how to take advantage of tax breaks renewed by Congress in December, after the IRS had printed its forms for the 2007 filing season. The most significant of the breaks allow taxpayers to deduct state and local sales taxes instead of state income taxes and provide deductions for higher education tuition and fees and for personal expenses incurred by schoolteachers.


Frontier, pilots reach deal

Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc. and the union representing its pilots said Thursday they have reached tentative agreement on a new four-year contract.

The pact makes significant improvements to retirement benefits and job protections, which were the key issues for the pilots, said Jeffrey Thomas, president of the Frontier Airlines Pilots Association, which represents about 650 pilots.

In a telephone interview, Thomas said the negotiations were not traditional in the sense of a hefty pay hike. “It was generally kind of a lateral move on pay” with minor cost-of-living adjustments, he said.

The agreement, approved by the union’s board of directors, will be put to the pilots for a ratification vote with a decision expected by mid-February. If approved, it would replace a contract that expired in May 2005.


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