Wireless is an Essential Service and Should Not Face Sin Taxes

Wireless is an Essential Service and Should Not Face Sin Taxes


MyWireless.org, a broad-based coalition of wireless consumers, recently released its National Tax Survey highlighting growing dissatisfaction with ever-increasing taxes on wireless goods and services.

Of the consumers surveyed, 80% believe that wireless is an essential part of their daily lives, and most (94%) are satisfied with their mobile service. A whopping four in five consumers surveyed think that the combined federal, state, and local tax rate for their wireless services is too high.  Currently, the national average is 17%. The District of Columbia, Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida and New York, among others, all have combined wireless tax rates in excess of the national average.

Ninety-seven percent of those surveyed believe that their wireless tax rate should be the same as or lower than the rate paid for general goods and services, which average roughly 7% across the country.

The way wireless services are taxed at present their use is treated similar to cigarettes or alcohol. Although we generally speak of wireless as being able to provide a variety of social, economic, and political benefits, the current taxation of wireless goods and services more closely resembles sin taxes made to disincentivize the use of certain goods.

Not only are wireless services valuable for things like text messaging, keeping in touch with family members, or the use of a variety of applications accessible via mobile devices, it also provides the primary medium through which many people access the Internet.

To encourage the benefits of wireless, MyWireless.org and its hundreds of thousands of members have been urging Congress to pass the Wireless Tax Freedom Act, which prevents multiple taxation on digital goods like ebooks, videos, games, apps, music, and the like, and the Internet Tax Freedom Act, a provision that will extend the moratorium on Internet taxation that is currently in effect.

To learn more about wireless taxation, or the Wireless or Internet Tax Freedom Acts, visit www.MyWireless.org.