Proposed Bill to Protect Consumers from Cell Phone Taxes

By Cindy Waxer March 14, 2011

If U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Olympia Snowe (R- Maine) get their way, consumers won’t have to contend with new taxes on their cell phone bill. For the third Congressional session, these Senators have introduced legislation, dubbed the Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011, in the Senate to prohibit states from imposing any new discriminatory taxes on wireless goods and services for five years. A companion bill in the House of Representatives was also introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).

That’s good news to many cell phone enthusiasts, given that during the years 2003 to 2007 the mobile industry saw their effective tax rates increase four times faster than other taxable goods and services. The average tax rate for taxable goods and services is 7.07 percent; however, the average tax rate for mobile goods and services is 15.9 percent, according a press release from Senator Wyden. The legislation has the endorsement of Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association and the support of the wireless industry.

 “The current landscape of excessive and discriminatory taxes on wireless services discourages its adoption and use, especially with lower income families.” said Senator Snowe, in a statement. “As wireless communications become a necessity for families and businesses nationwide, it is imperative wireless consumers are protected from the burdens of exorbitant fees, surcharges, and general business taxes.  I am pleased to join Senator Wyden in re-introducing the Mobile Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011 Act to protect this growing and innovative industry, as well as the consumers it serves, from excessive and onerous government tax rates.”

hearing for the bill is scheduled for tomorrow before a House Judiciary subcommittee.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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