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Washington state ranks No. 2 in wireless service taxes, fees

By REPORTER STAFF
Mercer Island Reporter Staff
July 3, 2013 · Updated 10:00 AM
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Wireless service tax and fee rates in the United States rank second highest in Washington state, according to a recent report released by the Tax Foundation.

A nonpartisan tax research group established in 1937, the Tax Foundation is based in Washington, D.C.

The report found that "U.S. wireless consumers pay an average 17.18 percent in taxes and fees on their cell phone bill, including 11.36 percent in state and local charges." Washington state's rate is 18.62 percent, and residents pay an average 24.44 percent in combined federal, state and local taxes. Nebraska ranks No. 1, and Oregon has the lowest rate at 1.85 percent. Other states in the top 10 with high rates include New York, Florida, Illinois, Rhode Island and Missouri.

The report notes that "states favor cell phone taxes because they can raise revenue in a relatively hidden way" and concludes, "cell phone users are overtaxed relative to consumers of other goods and at risk of double taxation. Finally, the wide number of taxing authorities and the wide variety in rates makes tracking problematic and burdensome."

An estimated 321.7 million Americans were cell phone subscribers in 2012, and 34 percent of households were solely using wireless phones and did not have landlines.

For more, go to www.taxfoundation.org.

 

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