The day the wireless bill comes is rapidly becoming one of everyone’s least favorite days. With Smartphones and data plans, the money we need to pay is absolutely skyrocketing. One reason for that, though, might be the little lines on the bill we aren’t bothering to look at: taxes and fees, some of which are becoming increasingly dubious, and expensive.
A report from KSE partners, experts in tax policy, reveals the goings-on of taxes and fees on wireless bills of the last five years. Some of the findings are staggering, including this eye-opening statistic: we spend, on average, 16% on wireless taxes and fees, compared to 7.4% on average for all other goods and services. Why is the number so high? The report suggests the success of the wireless industry may be a factor. The wireless industry escaped the recession nearly unscathed, and so the tax burden has shifted to it to make up for other struggling industries that can’t handle the financial strain right now. Naturally, these industries don’t want to pay extra taxes and fees, and so much of it gets passed on to the consumer.
The report also mentions some fees that aren’t even related to the wireless industry! Subscribers in Utah pay a poison-control surcharge on their wireless bills to help fund the state’s poison-control centers, while residents of Wisconsin pay a fee to help finance the state’s local police departments. Mix this in with taxes from five different sources from both the federal and state levels, and the fact that tax rates are continually climbing higher, and you’ve got a nasty tax cocktail that you’re forced to swallow every month.
Also offered are lists of the most taxed and least taxed states for wireless bills. Nebraska, Washington, and New York get hit the hardest, while Oregon, Nevada and Idaho have it the easiest. The highest, Nebraska, pays a stunning 23.69% in taxes on their bills. Taxes are an unfortunate necessity, but it seems like consumers are really getting gouged in a lot of these worse-off states. The report ends with a recommendation: talk to your Congressmen and women, and let them know how you feel.