FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
PRESS CONTACT: Brian Johnston, (202) 736-2980
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Americans complete the annual labor of filing their federal and state income tax returns and plan appropriately for the remainder of 2012, national advocacy organization MyWireless.org®reg; reminds the United States Congress that it can provide consumers with much-needed and deserved relief from discriminatory state and local taxes & fees on wireless service, and also against multiple tax hits on digital purchases. Specifically, MyWireless.org supports the passage of two critical pieces of legislation before the Congress adjourns this year, the “Wireless Tax Fairness Act” and the “Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act.”
“Now that we all have stepped up to our obligations, it’s time for Congress to step up to theirs and establish a fair and sensible tax structure for wireless consumers,” says Brian Johnston, director of advocacy for MyWireless.org. “The more than 300 million Americans using wireless technology today are being subjected to an outdated tax system that has them paying wireless taxes that are well more than their fair share, and puts them at risk of being unfairly taxed multiple times for the same digital purchase.”
Johnston continued, “Passing the Wireless Tax Fairness Act is a reasonable first step toward taking an unfair burden off the backs of U.S. wireless consumers. It’s a five-year time-out from having state and local governments continually piling on wireless-only taxes and fees, and would set the stage for a serious discussion about creating a tax system that reflects the realities of today’s communications landscape. Wireless technology is playing an increasingly helpful and important role in our personal and professional lives, and we shouldn’t be penalized for that by paying at levels that can be up to four times higher than the taxes we pay for general goods and services.”
The Wireless Tax Fairness Act was introduced in the Senate (S. 543) by Sens Wyden (D-OR) and Snowe (R-ME), and in the House (H.R. 1002) by Reps Lofgren (D-CA) and Franks (R-AZ). The legislation calls for a 5-year moratorium to be placed on any new and discriminatory wireless taxes & fees at the state and local levels. The bill is currently being considered before the Senate Finance Committee, and after being scored at zero significant additional cost to any level of government, was passed by a unanimous voice vote in the House on November 1st of last year. The measure is strongly bipartisan, and gained 236 co-sponsors on the House side, while garnering 18 co-sponsors on the identical Senate companion bill.
The other legislation MyWireless.org is urging Congress to pass, the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act, was introduced in the Senate (S. 971) by Sens Wyden and Thune (R-SD), and in the House (H.R. 1860) by Reps Smith (R-TX) and Cohen (D-TN).
That legislation seeks to prohibit a state or local jurisdiction from imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on the sale or use of digital goods or services that are purchased with wireless, delivered or transferred electronically to a consumer. The bill would promote a framework, looking for simplicity and fairness in the taxation of these digital goods and services, ensuring a consumer is only taxed one time for their purchase & by the local jurisdiction where their device is registered, where their monthly wireless bill is received, and where they pay state and/or local sales tax. These measures are also strongly supported and bipartisan, with 16 co-sponsors in the House, and 3 co-sponsors in the Senate.
“We couldn’t be more thankful for the leadership and the efforts of Senators Wyden, Snowe and Thune, and Representatives Lofgren, Franks, Smith and Cohen, as well as all of the co-sponsors of these important bills. We feel there is no better time to highlight their pro-consumer work than right now with Tax Week here in America. It’s high time we take a breather from wireless taxes and fees spiraling ever higher, that we protect consumers from multiple and discriminatory tax hits for their purchases, and that our elected officials really take this time-out period to study new and emerging technology’s usage within our society,” Johnston continued. “We urge Senate Finance Chairman Baucus to consider both pieces of legislation in an upcoming ‘Tax Reform – State and Local Fiscal Policy’ hearing, and to help hundreds of millions of consumers by finally taking these outdated tax laws off the books.”
MyWireless.org® is a national nonpartisan non-profit advocacy organization, made up of wireless consumers, businesses and community leaders from around the country, supporting reasonable pro-consumer wireless policies. To learn more, please visit actwireless.wpengine.com.