Can a cell phone bill count towards housing allowance?

We are a new church plant with no offices. We work from our home and our cell phones are used for church and personal calls. We also have 2 teenage daughters on the same plan. Does any of that count for housing allowance?

Comments for Can a cell phone bill count towards housing allowance?

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Sep 02, 2015
Cell phone as housing allowance
by: MarcusNTexas

It seems to me that if a traditional "land line" phone service could be covered by the housing allowance that cell phone service could also be included. However, I think consulting with church leadership on this matter might be advisable, especially to the extent that the additional cost of phones for the children is included in the cell phone bill.

Sep 03, 2015
cell phone bill counted housing allowance expense?
by: Lewis in NC

I agree, the children's added cost might not be allowed as part of the housing allowance expense. Also, another issue that might enter into this is the idea of a home office. A home office probably would not be allowed if those expenses are covered in the housing allowance.

Mar 31, 2016
by: Anonymous

It is hard to get the concept, but a cell phone, computer, or tablet is LISTED PROPERTY. You OWN your cell phone and it has value, even though you receive a service. For instance water, a utility, runs into your house and you use it. With a telephone, you get services, but the IRS doesn't want to pay for the device that uses the services. Check out LISTED PROPERTY with the IRS for a more detailed ruling.

Oct 31, 2019
Cell phone replaces Land line
by: Anonymous

I understand that the phone itself is "listed property," and as such could not be considered as part of the Sec. 107 house allowance deduction.

However, since to an enormous extent cell phones have replaced land line phones over much of the USA, I would expect the IRS to begin considering the monthly cell phone service to be equivalent to what the "Bell" companies, et al, have historically charged for the land line "service." (Incidentally, for many decades we have owned any land line phone instruments plugged into the "Bell" wall jacks.)

In other words, if one has no land line, the cell phone monthly charge is actually part of what is ordinarily called a "utility." I believe the IRS should consider it deductible under Sec. 107.

Of course I don't have any Rev. rulings for this opinion, which is only an opinion. Consult your tax attorney or tax preparer for your case.

Nov 18, 2019
Cell Phones No Longer Considered Listed Property
by: Vickey

As of January 1, 2010, cell phones and other similar personal telecommunications devices are no longer considered to be listed property.

I agree with the poster that said cell phones have replaced land line telephones in many homes today...but the IRS is SLOW to update the "wording" on their rulings and to date I have not seen "mobile phones" listed as an eligible housing allowance.

BUT like he also stated...consult your tax attorney or tax preparer =)

Oct 06, 2020
Cell phone NOT a utility
by: Anonymous

Whether or not an item is listed property isn’t really applicable.

A utility is something thing physically attached to and services a home. A landline is. But a cell phone is a portable device that can be taken away from the home. It is more of a personal device and is not a utility. So even though it is an alternative to a landline phone, it is not considered a utility for housing allowance purposes.

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