The Small Business Jobs Act that the Senate passed on Thursday contains a provision that the AICPA and cell phone providers have clamored for: the removal of cellular telephones and similar telecommunications equipment from the IRSs set of listed property so their cost could be deducted or depreciated like other business property, without tiresome record-keeping requirements.
Even the IRS has given in on this one after hearing complaints for years about the headaches of distinguishing business use from personal use of mobile phones, and the problems associated with keeping track of how much time has been spent on which types of calls. The House still has to pass the legislation, but thats expected to happen soon, and the cell phone provision isnt likely to be left out of the House bill.
That will come just in time as more smart phones hit the market with sophisticated features for business users that are sure to tempt them to try out the more personal types of functions. Even phones that have traditionally been aimed at a business audience, like Research In Motions BlackBerry, have steadily been gaining more consumer features in recent years to broaden their appeal.
RIM showed off several of its newest models at Pepcoms Holiday Spectacular technology preview in New York on Wednesday evening. One of its new phones, the Storm2, features an iPhone-like touch screen. Other vendors are introducing Google Android-based phones with the ability to download applications from an App Store reminiscent of Apples own collection of apps.
The new phones and the IRSs relaxed record-keeping requirements, thanks to Congress, may give the wireless industry a needed shot in the arm just in time for holiday shopping.