Wireless Taxes

The average wireless consumer now pays nearly 18% in combined state, local and federal wireless taxes and fees. That’s more than double the average sales tax rate of about 7% paid on other goods or services. In fact, wireless consumers in 46 states and the District of Columbia pay more in wireless taxes and fees than they do general sales tax. Do you know what you’re paying in taxes and fees on your wireless service? Look up your state’s rates here (you may be surprised!).

Wireless taxes continue to rise. Over the past decade, wireless taxation increased at a rate four times faster than the rate on other taxable goods and services. And, because wireless taxes are often regressive, they hit seniors, minority communities, working families and small businesses especially hard.

Help from Congress: The ‘Wireless Tax Fairness Act’

Last Congress, Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) in the House of Representatives and Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced the ‘Wireless Tax Fairness Act’ (H.R. 2309 / S. 1235) which would put a freeze on any new discriminatory state or local wireless taxes and fees for five years.

This bipartisan bill gained 221 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives and 17 in the Senate, but Congress failed to vote on the legislation. The ‘Wireless Tax Fairness Act’ has not yet been introduced in the 114th Congress.

What the ‘Wireless Tax Fairness Act’ Does

The bill would prohibit local and state governments from tacking on any new taxes and fees on a specific communications service, such as wireless, for five years. They could still increase taxes and fees on communications across the board, but they couldn’t just single out any one set of consumers, such as wireless users like you. The five year freeze would provide wireless consumers with a much-needed break from even higher taxes and fees, and a window to develop a tax and fee structure that is fair and sensible.

Support for the Bill

  • The ‘Wireless Tax Fairness Act’ was introduced and championed in the House by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ). 221 co-sponsors signed on to support this measure in the 113th Congress.
  • Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) lead the charge in the Senate. The bill had 17 co-sponsors.
  • The majority of consumers we polled in our annual survey support a five-year freeze and say they think wireless taxes should be equal to, or lower than, the sales tax rate.