Tax, tax, tax. It seems everywhere we go, something is taxed. Gas, cigarettes, consumer goods, our income, and our cell phones. In fact, you can plan to add about $10 to your monthly phone bill to account for the fees and taxes assessed. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) want to cut out some of those cell phone taxes though, at least those imposed on a local level. Seeing as the tax rate on wireless services, when you factor in state, local, and federal taxes, amounts to nearly 16 percent, or more than double most sales tax rates. The Cell Tax Fairness Act seeks to put a five-year moratorium on any state or local taxes. As is the case with most carriers, Verizon Wireless agrees with this measure:
“Verizon Wireless has always said wireless customers should not be subject to unfair and discriminatory taxes, and this bill addresses that issue directly,” said Steve Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel at Verizon Wireless. “On behalf of our more than 67 million customers, we applaud this proposed legislation and commend Senators Wyden and Snowe for this important effort to make wireless services more affordable for American consumers.”
Carriers see not a dime of this tax money, so clearly they want to get rid of it and save their customers a few bucks…so that they can turn around and spend those dollars on data services. Regardless of the motive, though, this is a beneficial measure for consumers. It could help spur growth in the mobile industry, though expanding networks into rural areas would do more for that. In any case, this seems like a measure necessary to curb a growing tax on a service that is becoming more and more essential to our daily lives.