13 December 2018

More Taxes & Fees: A Report

Wireless Taxes and Fees Climb Again in 2018
December 11, 2018
Wireless consumers will pay an estimated $16.1 billion in taxes, fees, and government surcharges to federal, state, and local governments in 2018 based on the tax rates calculated in this report from The Tax Foundation .
Wireless service is increasingly the sole means of communications and connectivity for many Americans, particularly young people and those with lower incomes. At the end of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about 68 percent of all poor adults lived in wireless-only households and 53 percent of all adults of all incomes lived in wireless-only households.[1] These excessive taxes and fees–especially those that impose high per-line taxes and fees–impose a disproportionate tax burden on those least able to afford them.
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Local governments in 12 states currently impose some type of tax or fee on wireless service over and above any broad-based local sales tax. In most of these states, the local wireless tax is in addition to state taxes. California is the exception—wireless service is not subject to sales taxes but is subject to local Utility User Taxes at rates as high as 11%. Table 5 provides a breakdown of the types of local wireless taxes.
Table 5. Local Wireless Taxes by Type
Privilege, License or User TaxesState-Authorized Telecom TaxesSchool District and Other Special District Taxes
ArizonaFloridaKentucky
CaliforniaIllinoisNew York
MarylandMaryland 
MissouriNew York 
NebraskaUtah 
Nevada  
South Carolina  
Washington  
 
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Figure 2.
How high are cell phone taxes in your state? 2018

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