Cellphone Taxes Continue to Rise

If you’re like me, you don’t go anywhere without your wireless device, and you count on it for all kinds of things. It helps me do my job better, but it’s also how I stay connected with family, friends and coworkers, keep up on the latest news and gossip, and even do those un-fun things like paying bills and letting my boss know I’m running late. There are many times where I literally would be lost without my wireless device.

I’m not ashamed to say I love that thing! But, when it comes to paying the bill, there’s an ugly side we can all count on, and that’s paying an excessive federal, state and local government wireless taxes and fees.

In fact, a recent study by economist Scott Mackey of KSE Partners shows that the average American wireless consumer now pays more than 17% (17.18%, to be exact)in monthly wireless taxes and fees. That’s up from 16.26% since the last time he looked at these numbers in 2010. That means that for your wireless service every month, you’re paying a tax rate nearly two and a half times higher than the average general sales tax rate (7.33%) that you’d pay if you bought another taxable good or service.

It’s just unfair (as this video demonstrates).

Mackey has been tracking these tax rates since 2003, and since then the overall tax burden on you, the wireless consumer, has grown about four times faster than the general sales tax rate. Check out where your state stands.

Take a look at this infographic and help us spread it far and wide so consumers can learn about how much their wireless services is taxed (our research shows most have no clue) and begin to fight for tax fairness.

2012 state tax ranking infographic

Congress is currently considering a five-year freeze (the bipartisan ‘Wireless Tax Fairness Act’) on any new and discriminatory state and local wireless taxes and fees for five years. The House passed it a year ago, and if the Senate can just get it over the finish line in the next few weeks, consumers would get some much need relief. Help us get the Senate’s attention on this issue by writing your Senator today.

Join us in our fight against unfair wireless taxes and fees!

57 thoughts on “Cellphone Taxes Continue to Rise

  1. Louie Masciarelli November 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    this is just more bullcrap from the obama gang !!!!

    • beangoode November 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm - Reply

       Not an Obama fan, but this was going on before he took office, the article even states they have been tracking since 2003. 

  2. Michael Paone November 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Wait, but this poses the question and then doesn’t answer it.  Why are the taxes so high?  What are they used for?  What is the other side of the argument?

    • beangoode November 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      Most bills will tell you.  I know that my city and county get about 10% on mine.  I have known about this for some time because I look at my bill, but like most people, I just take it (my fault).  I complain about it and don’t write any of my local, state or federal elected officials to do something about it.  I need to get ticked about and do something. 

      As for what they do with it, we all know the answer to that as well.  It DOESN’T go to education (two of the largest cities in my state have school districts that are not accredited).  We have some of the worse highways in the country, so it’s not going there.  SPECIAL INTERESTS, SPECIAL INTERESTS, and then SOMEBODY’S got to fund these billion dollar campaigns to run for a $300,000 a year job every four years. 

      I’m thinking of  just crawling into a corner and assume the fetal position and cry until I get off of my lazy behind and get active.  And the reason I prefer that is because if I can’t convince some of my closest friends that NOT supporting this two party system anymore and vote for a candidate you know won’t win (but you think could make a difference IF he did), what difference does it make.  People like voting for the lesser of two evils, but here’s a novel concept, what IF enough people voted what they believed instead of same old status quo (see where that got us this past election)?

  3. Randell Baudeck November 14, 2012 at 7:34 am - Reply

    It probably falls under the “Luxury Tax” lines… Since Obama & his Ohhhbummer Care doesn’t give a male like me a Whole Slew Of Goodies, like the Ladies get,,,, Perhaps! O’le Mr. Jokerbama would be willing to cover the wirelss taxes on us Gents that didn’t score of the Free Goodies while he realizes that if he only Drastically lower the wireless taxe,,, the ladies could afford their “Goodies” On Own…!!!

    • Patti Viscardi December 1, 2012 at 4:55 pm - Reply

       there are free goodies for women? where can I claim mine?

    • Deacon know Good December 5, 2012 at 10:27 am - Reply

       Still mad that you lost, huh?

  4. Timmae' November 14, 2012 at 8:10 am - Reply

    It is really sad that most of these states leaders say they are for the “little guy”,  they just omit the rest “to pay for most of the taxes” from their statements.

  5. Beatrice Vidrine McRae November 14, 2012 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Got to pay for the Obama phones

    • Travis M Bruno-Erck November 17, 2012 at 9:12 am - Reply

      You mean the Bush phones Beatupid McDumb.

    • larryroth702 November 28, 2012 at 8:51 am - Reply

      If there was any doubt about people thinking “Maybe your stupid” your comment erased any doubt they may have had.

    • Patti Viscardi December 1, 2012 at 4:52 pm - Reply

       Reagan phones – he started it.

    • Carrie Blood December 2, 2012 at 11:02 am - Reply

      You mean the Bush Phones right,since it was his program.

  6. CalifTaxPayer November 15, 2012 at 1:00 am - Reply

    All the Politicians know is TAX TAX TAX TAX TAX.  And it’s never enough!! They waste our money like it just grows on trees and then when they run out the 1st thing they do is TAX THE CITIZEN’S. Of course it never goes toward what they say the money is going. It goes to all their pet projects and donors. They are thieves and should be thrown in prison!!! I am utterly SICK & TIRED of the BS and being screwed and used. I am serious when I say they should be in Prison. 

    • eL Dee December 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      Hold your horses–while I hate high taxes & fees too, remember that we all pitch in to fund programs our local, state & fed govts deem important. The pols who levy these taxes are – guess what?? VOTED into office! Another thing; taxes are not inherently “evil”–nor do they only fund pet projects–I suggest you use your phone to contact your elected officials and complain…better yet, howabout YOU run for office and try your hand at balancing the desires of all your constituents!! Mebbe you can do a better job–but Im not going to hold my breath!!

  7. anonymous November 16, 2012 at 2:36 am - Reply

    Are you kidding?  Under Obama taxes will only be going up to pay for Obamacare, increased regulation overseen by new “Czars” and their staffs, higher gas prices due to drilling permit restrictions, and don’t forget the trillion dollars he has added to the deficit for each year he has been in office.  Get real.

  8. Lorin Johnson November 16, 2012 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Phones are a necessity for children, elderly and common people and shouldn’t be taxed as a luxury for the wealthy….that is just wrong. Government spending and waste is out of control and we will have to suffer for it. STOP TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!!!! 

  9. allenwolldq November 16, 2012 at 3:36 am - Reply

    For personal use, wireless devices ARE a definite LUXURY. . So, PAY !

    Use adhesive tape instead of a phone to hold your ear on.

    • Brian Schend November 27, 2012 at 9:10 am - Reply

      Umm, for around 35% of people in the US, their wireless phone is their only phone. Hard to call that a “luxury”

  10. Stan Phillips November 16, 2012 at 5:20 am - Reply

    I went to basic pre-pay from i phone a year ago, and saved 1200 bucks first year, no taxes….its your choice, keep paying or not–don’t miss it a bit, was a big waste of my time and now using those 30 minutes a day 3-4 hours a week extra on college classes—so easy people—I would love to see everyone organize and drop their cell phone plans all in the same month–watch the prices get halved.

  11. Ron November 16, 2012 at 8:32 am - Reply

    ” The House passed it a year ago, and if the Senate can just get it over
    the finish line in the next few weeks, consumers would get some much
    need relief.”

    What? That obstructionist House we’ve been hearing about?

    • Stephen Rex November 28, 2012 at 7:31 am - Reply

      “The House passed it a year ago, and if the Senate can just get it over
      the finish line in the next few weeks…” You’re too dim to realize you’ve rightly accused the Dem controlled Senate of being the real obstruction.

    • Harlon Katz December 4, 2012 at 10:46 pm - Reply

      Well, even if it pass the house, Democratic Senator Reid won’t let it even come up for DISCUSSION. The Senate has not passed a budget in FOUR years. 

  12. Sam Rodriguez November 16, 2012 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Prepay is the way to go! $40.00 unlimited talk text and data just bring your own phone

  13. […] Mobile wireless is an American success story.  It saves us in emergencies.  It keeps us in contact with our spouse, children, parents, co-workers and lets us speak our minds to friends.  More recently, wireless services enable consumers to “see” loved ones and to conduct business with associates.  We rank it highly for serving these purposes and for the value it delivers. Unfortunately, the mobile phone has become a tool of the tax authorities – adding an average 17% above the charges due to the wireless carriers and with seven states above 20%. […]

  14. Andre Leonard November 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    The people deserve to pay more in taxes. This election saw 87% of incumbents returned to office. They make the tax rules and we vote for them.

    Why cry and bemoan that which you ask for? WInston Churchill said it best. “People get the type of government they deserve” They vote for it.

  15. 1391406 November 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    TAX yes the word for Thanksgiving we need to be thankful to be able and support our
    president air time getting out of the white house , flying at least three time a week on that flying white house , our tax dollars during a time of hard knots are short and he 
    speaks I feel your pain , Well stay home and watch your house expense’s , Talk with 
    congress and Harry Reed about a flat tax , Not percentage points

  16. Javier Tuñón November 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    when was the last time that a tax came off the books?

  17. Russell Bogue November 25, 2012 at 9:34 am - Reply

    these are mostly state and local taxes.  Put the blame where it is due

  18. Time1 November 25, 2012 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Just more revenue into the abyss that has become local state and federal govt.

  19. Art P November 25, 2012 at 11:00 am - Reply

    The tax rationalization in action: Squander the current taxes on pork and inflated non productive management and employees and then are shocked, shocked I tell you, that there isn’t enough left for “the children”. Then the tax rates are increased and the cycle starts again.
    Isn’t it just about time we demanded a full accounting of where every cent that is conscripted from us is spent? And approval by the voters on each line item? If that is too much for you then perhaps we don’t have a right to complain as we are being systematically robbed.

  20. arbitrage789 November 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Gee, all this time I thought they were just going to “tax the rich”.   

    Silly me. 

  21. Joe Burkhart November 25, 2012 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Wireless is a luxury. Ninety nine percent of the traffic is utter nonsense. The rude idiots married to those things need to be taxed for stupidity.

  22. brutus November 26, 2012 at 5:56 am - Reply

    we need to find a way to reduce the number in office by half and make the ones remaining work for two demografic area’s and put that money saved toward the fiscal cliff. 

  23. Rich Patrock November 26, 2012 at 9:27 am - Reply

    How much of this tax is actually government mandated?  I always assumed it was just the way the cell phone companies helped pay for their own taxes, or if they didn’t need to pay, it was pure profit.

  24. […] devices are now higher than they’ve ever been. The average wireless consumer now pays over 17 percent of his or her bill in taxes and fees. This rate is more than two and one-half times higher than the […]

  25. […] taxes on wireless devices are now higher than they’ve ever been.  The average wireless consumer now pays over 17% of his or her bill in taxes and fees. This rate is more than two and one-half times higher than the average sales tax, according to the […]

  26. […] devices are now higher than they’ve ever been. The average wireless consumer now pays over 17 percent of his or her bill in taxes and fees. This rate is more than two and one-half times higher than the […]

  27. […] devices are now higher than they’ve ever been. The average wireless consumer now pays over 17 percent of his or her bill in taxes and fees. This rate is more than two and one-half times higher than the […]

  28. […] devices are now higher than they’ve ever been. The average wireless consumer now pays over 17 percent of his or her bill in taxes and fees. This rate is more than two and one-half times higher than the […]

  29. […] devices are now higher than they’ve ever been. The average wireless consumer now pays over 17 percent of his or her bill in taxes and fees. This rate is more than two and one-half times higher than the […]

  30. […] target for new taxes as cash-strapped state and local governments look for new sources of income. According to a recent study, the average wireless consumer pays more than 17% in combined monthly federal, state and local […]

  31. poopmystery December 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Not only that but in places like California you pay sales tax on the ENTIRE RETAIL VALUE of the subsidized phone PLUS taxes on the two years of monthly payments which are subsidizing it — that’s double taxation on the sales tax alone.

  32. mountainearth December 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Those of you bashing Obama note that the fine Republican state of Nebraska leads all others. It’s not a party thing.

  33. docwhocuts December 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    gotta pay for those obama phones.

  34. docwhocuts December 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    someone has to pay for the “free” phones obamatrons are receiving.

  35. Rob Weaver December 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    about the only good thing that can be said about this tax is that it, like gasoline tax and a few other “user” taxes, is something that just about everyone has to pay regardless of income level.

    That said, I’m generally against all taxation, as it only give the government money to things that, for the most part, I’d rather they not do at all.

  36. Paul L December 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Some of you need to read before you type.  This is a states’ rights issue. And some of these states rob the E-911 funding to pay for other things.  THE FEDERAL GOV’T SHOULD NOT BE TRYING TO FIX THIS.  Your state lawmakers are the crooks on this issue, not Obama. 

  37. Nurse56 December 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    Part of the  taxes on telephone service are used to pay for those Obamaphones (started by and continued under other administrations) and since anyone who is on SSI, food stamps, Section 8 housing etc automatically qualify the taxes must necessarily skyrocket to support them. You think taxes are bad now, just wait.

  38. montysnowgoer December 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    I avoid the tax by not owning a cell phone.

  39. montysnowgoer December 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    I avoid the tax by not owning a cellphone

  40. trilsys December 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    This site is a fraud. See http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=1498637 For example, they share office space with the cell phone trade group Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), and share employees. The taxes levied may be high, but they in fact go to local schools, police, firefighters. And this site doesn’t want the taxes lowered to lower _your_ tax bill.

  41. foggy December 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    For starters, all federal civil “servants” are getting discounts on all of their home and cell phone bills.   That ought to stop now because of the obvious conflict of interest.  And discounts are also granted to employees of large companies while we the little folks get sand bagged.

    In NJ, Verizon is a monopoly really and they still keep a line item charge on every bill in the southern half of the State where they have decided not to bother to provide us with the 4G we have been paying for for years.

    The deaf get robbed if they use those infamous TTY’s that you don’t see very often.  The telecos charge the deaf at voice rates to use obsolete technology developed in the 1950’s for Western Union operators.   One of the features is that it controls the speed of typing and 30 wpm (very slow) was made a set point so those WU telegram typists wouldn’t make typos.   The deaf tend to type very quickly and typos are not a huge problem.  Yet no data rate for the deaf which would let them pay at the appropriate lower rate.   Sock it to them with voice rates.    Next year the FCC says all smart phones will have captions.  I am not holding my breath on that one but I can just imagine what the bills for deaf folks will turn into once smart phones hit them.

    Judge Greene was wrong when he broke up AT&T.   Yes, some technological advances were made and would have ultimately been made by AT&T but the prices we are being gouged with just get worse.   But feel better, your Senators and Congressmen get discounts galore so they are completely out of touch with any complaints you have about the costs:   they don’t pay what most of us do just as they have exempted themselves and some chosen few to be exempt from the costs of O-care.  

    Soon no one will be able will be able to make ends meet but have no fear, the government will take care of everything.   I know because where I live we were hit by the eye of Sandy and after all this time haven’t seen a real FEMA employee or the Red Cross or anyone try to attempt to help us other than Franklin Graham’s amazing Samaritan’s Purse.

    Once we are on welfare, we will then all get free cellphones and monthly use paid for by whoever is willing to bother to go to work.   That isn’t going to attract many people in the very near future, however.

  42. mndasher December 7, 2012 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Land line taxes and fees are upwards of 52 percent.  My VOIP service is $20.00 / month but the taxes and fees takes it to $30.52

  43. hlasatel December 7, 2012 at 10:46 am - Reply

    This is what happens when criminals parasites thieves crooks and gangsters infiltrate our government , become lawmakers senators congressmen governors  mayors judges and so called leaders for life.

  44. hlasatel December 7, 2012 at 11:15 am - Reply

    This is what you get when we allow parasites liars deceivers crooks thieves and criminals to become politicians and infiltrate and usurp our government for life.

  45. Caihlyn Tatsu December 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Pathetic how obsessed people are with their wireless devices. Stare at your gadget for hours on end. Talk to Siri.  Jump to check the screen every time it beeps or jiggles.  No way. My Tracfone is there when I need to use it. I use it. It doesn’t control me.

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