2013 National Tax Survey

Methodology

McLaughlin & Associates partnered with Penn Schoen Berland to develop and conduct a bipartisan national survey of 1,000 adult wireless phone users, who are likely voters. The survey was conducted between December 2-6, 2013. All interviews were conducted online. The survey invitations were distributed randomly within predetermined geographic units. These units were structured to statistically correlate with actual voter turnout for a general election. The accuracy of the sample of 1,000 adult wireless phone users, who are likely voters, is within +/- 3.1% at a 95% confidence interval. The survey results in this summary have been rounded and the wording for each question is verbatim from the questionnaire.

Summary

Wireless phone users remain highly satisfied customers and consider their wireless service as an essential part of their daily lives. It’s clear that wireless phone consumers are against increasing or adding new wireless taxes and fees. The majority supports Congress passing a 5-year freeze on all new wireless taxes and fees, supports continuing the moratorium on Internet access taxes and prefers creating federal guidelines that establish one fair and consistent set of taxes to apply to purchases of online digital downloads.

Survey Structure

The survey is divided into 5 sections. Jump to a section or explore the whole survey.

Additional Consumer Surveys


Consumer Satisfaction & Lifestyle

Overall, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your cell phone service?

More than 9 in 10 (94%) wireless phone consumers remain satisfied with their wireless phone service. Half (50%) of wireless consumers are “very” satisfied. This overwhelming level of satisfaction cut across all demographic groups. Only 6% are dissatisfied with their wireless phone service.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hispanic Men Women
Satisfied 94 94 93 97 91 93 96 94 92 96 93 94
Dissatisfied 6 6 7 3 9 7 4 6 8 4 7 6

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Would you consider giving up your home landline phone and only use a cell phone?

The majority already has (25%) or would consider (34%) giving up their home landline phone and only use a wireless phone. Two in five (41%) wouldn’t consider “cutting the cord.” Consumers 55 years old or younger are more likely to “cut the cord” than older consumers. Seven in ten (70%) senior citizens wouldn’t give up their home landline phone.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hispanic Men Women
Yes 31 34 51 48 31 23 19 29 40 57 40 29
No 41 41 20 22 39 54 70 42 44 28 40 41
Already Have 29 25 29 30 30 24 11 29 15 14 20 30

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Do you consider your wireless service as an essential service in your everyday life?

Wireless service is clearly an important part of people’s lifestyles. Four in five (81%) wireless phone users consider their wireless service as an essential service in their everyday life.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hispanic Men Women
Yes 81 97 91 83 72 63 79 87 91 80 82
No 19 3 9 17 28 37 21 13 9 20 18

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Do you use a wireless device, like a wireless phone or tablet, for things related to work, school or personal management?(Work, School, Personal Management don’t equal 100% because respondents were allowed to choose multiple answers)

Roughly two-thirds (65%) of wireless phone consumers use a wireless device for things related to work, school or personal management. The majority (57%) uses a wireless device for personal management followed by work (30%) and school (12%). Consumers 40 year olds and younger and Hispanics are the most active on their wireless devices.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hispanic Men Women
YES 65 91 83 67 44 38 63 65 76 67 63
 Work 30 46 56 29 17 4 28 24 49 39 23
 School 12 37 20 5 3 0 10 14 23 13 12
 Personal 57 79 70 59 38 38 57 60 56 55 58
NO 35 9 17 33 56 62 37 35 24 33 37

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Does the wireless device make you more productive with things related to work, school or personal management? (Work, School, Personal Management don’t equal 100% because respondents were allowed to choose multiple answers)

Nine in ten (93%) consumers who use a wireless device for work, school or personal management, say it makes them more productive. Most say wireless devices make them more productive in managing their personal affairs.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hispanic Men Women
YES 93 97 96 93 88 81 93 89 96 92 94
 Work 44 46 65 40 33 11 42 35 61 55 33
 School 17 38 20 7 4 0 13 21 29 17 17
 Personal 82 84 79 83 81 81 84 81 70 78 86
NO 7 3 4 7 12 19 7 11 4 8 6

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Taxes & Fees

From what you know, about what percentage of your monthly cell phone bill is taxes and fees?

There continues to be a significant lack of awareness among wireless consumers about how much they actually pay in taxes and fees on their monthly wireless phone bills. More than one-quarter (29%) has no idea of what they pay in taxes and fees. Among those who gave an estimate, most think they pay less than 15%. The average answer is 9.8%, which is significantly lower than the national average of 17.2%.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Under $60K Over $60K
Less than 5% 14 13 14 14 11 14 12 11 20 14 11 15 17 8
5%-9% 26 26 32 26 30 18 21 26 25 21 25 26 26 26
10%-14% 23 20 21 23 18 20 17 21 15 18 21 19 16 26
15%-19% 8 8 6 11 9 8 7 7 7 15 11 6 6 11
20% or More 5 5 4 6 5 4 4 4 4 11 5 4 4 5
Don’t Know 25 29 23 20 28 36 39 32 31 22 27 31 32 24
MEAN % 9.9% 9.8% 9.2% 10% 9.9% 9.9% 9.8% 9.7% 8.9% 11.7% 10.5% 9.2% 8.9% 11%

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Would you support or oppose Congress passing a 5-year moratorium on states or localities imposing any new or discriminatory tax specifically on wireless services?

By nearly a 3 to 1 ratio (61% to 21%), the majority supports Congress passing a 5-year moratorium on states or localities imposing any new or discriminatory tax specifically on wireless services. Over one-third (37%) would strongly support it. In last year’s online survey, 81% supported “Congress passing a 5-year freeze or moratorium on all new wireless taxes and fees, which would prohibit states and municipalities from raising taxes and fees on wireless services.” The majority (59%) “strongly” supported it and only 7% opposed the proposal.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
Support 61 56 64 61 64 62 63 54 68 71 53 64 57 64
Oppose 21 29 16 20 21 21 20 28 19 20 22 21 24 19
Don’t Know 17 16 19 19 15 17 17 19 13 9 25 16 19 17

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Do you believe that temporarily freezing state and local wireless tax rates will have a negative impact on revenue?

By a 2 to 1 ratio (49% to 22%), half (49%) doesn’t believe temporarily freezing state and local wireless tax rates will have a negative impact on revenue. More than one-quarter (28%) doesn’t know if it would negatively impact revenues.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
Yes 16 22 38 37 12 16 14 19 18 40 25 20 21 24 21
No 58 49 37 40 58 56 52 52 48 44 54 45 52 46 50
Don’t Know 26 28 24 24 31 28 34 30 34 17 21 35 27 29 28

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Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress or U.S. Senate who voted against temporarily freezing wireless tax rates?

By about a 2 to 1 ratio (50% to 26%), half would be less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress or U.S. Senate who voted against temporarily freezing wireless tax rates. The less likely percentage increases among consumers older than 40 years old, White consumers and Republicans.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
More Likely 22 26 40 36 21 17 18 22 28 47 30 22 26 29 22
Less Likely 43 50 38 37 60 57 56 54 48 36 51 49 55 48 49
No Difference 35 24 22 27 20 26 27 24 24 17 19 28 19 24 30

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Do you think the tax rate on your monthly cell phone service should be lower, the same or higher than the taxes you pay on general goods and services, which is approximately 7%?

The majority (53%) of wireless phone users continue to think the tax rate on their monthly wireless phone bill should be lower than the taxes they pay on general goods and services, which is approximately 7%. Combined, 97% believes the tax rate should be the same (44%) or less (53%) than the taxes they pay on general goods and services, which is relatively consistent across all of the demographics.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
Lower 54 53 48 45 52 64 55 52 61 51 51 55 58 50 52
Same 44 44 49 51 45 32 42 45 35 44 46 42 39 46 46
Higher 2 3 3 4 3 5 3 3 4 6 4 4 3 4 3

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Do you believe a combined state and local tax rate above 17% for wireless services is not enough, about right or too much?

Four in five (81%) wireless consumers still think a combined state and local tax rate above 17% for wireless services is too much. This overwhelming sentiment cuts across all demographic and political lines.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
Not Enough 2 3 4 7 0 1 2 1 3 9 3 2 4 3 1
About Right 14 16 30 23 12 10 9 13 15 34 20 13 12 19 17
Too Much 84 81 66 70 88 90 89 86 82 58 77 85 84 78 82

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Does the cost of your wireless service impact your wireless usage?

One-third (34%) says the cost of their wireless service does impact their wireless usage. The percentage grows among consumers 40 years old and younger and Hispanics.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Under $60K Over $60K
Yes 36 34 44 41 35 28 24 32 30 50 34 35 34 35
No 64 66 56 59 65 72 76 68 70 50 66 65 66 65

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If $5.00 in taxes and fees were added to your wireless bill each month, would you reduce your wireless service plan to help make up for the addedWhether it’s on a computer costs?

If $5.00 in taxes and fees were added to their wireless bill each month, one-quarter (24%) would definitely reduce their wireless service plan to help make up for the added costs. Combined, two-thirds (67%) would either definitely (24%) reduce their plan or consider it (43%). One-third (33%) wouldn’t change their plan to make up for the added costs. African-Americans, Hispanics and consumers 40 years old and younger are most likely to reduce their plan.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Under $60K Over $60K
YES 67 75 70 63 69 61 64 76 76 67 67 70 63
 Definitely 24 24 31 17 26 24 21 26 37 25 23 25 23
 Consider  It 43 51 39 46 42 37 43 49 39 42 44 45 40
NO 33 25 31 37 32 39 36 24 24 33 33 30 37

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Under current law, there is a moratorium that prohibits states and municipalities from taxing your access to the internet— the monthly charge from your internet service provider. This law is set to expire in November 2014. If it expires, state and local governments would be allowed to impose taxes on your monthly internet bill. Would you support or oppose Congress continuing the moratorium, which prohibits states and municipalities from taxing your access to the Internet?

By greater than a 2 to 1 ratio (66% to 26%), two-thirds support Congress continuing the moratorium prohibiting states and municipalities from taxing access to the Internet. The majority consensus cuts across all political and demographic segments.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
Support 66 62 72 65 66 66 67 63 69 73 60 69 65 64
Oppose 26 29 19 27 29 25 25 26 27 23 28 25 25 27
Don’t Know 8 9 10 8 6 9 8 11 4 5 11 6 10 9

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Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress or U.S. Senate who voted AGAINST continuing the freeze on the Internet access tax?

A slight majority (53%) would be less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress or U.S. Senate who voted against continuing the freeze on the Internet access tax. The less likely percentage increases among consumers older than 40 years old, White consumers and Republicans.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
More Likely 26 44 35 21 16 19 22 28 50 31 22 25 31 21
Less Likely 53 37 43 60 62 57 57 50 35 52 53 57 48 53
No Difference 21 19 22 19 22 24 21 23 15 17 25 18 20 26

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Digital Downloads

Whether it’s on a computer or a wireless device, do you consider Internet service as an essential service in your everyday life?

Nine in ten (94%) consumers consider Internet service as an essential service in their everyday life. This overwhelming sentiment is evident among all consumer demographics.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women
Yes 94 99 96 95 91 90 94 95 99 93 95
No 6 1 4 5 9 10 6 5 1 7 5

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How often do you use your cell phone to access the Internet?

Roughly three-quarters (74%) have a wireless smartphone with Internet access. The majority (53%) regularly use their smartphone to access the Internet. Consumers 40 years old and younger and Hispanics are the biggest users of the Internet on their smartphone. Men use the Internet on their smartphone more than women. Consumers with a household income over $60K are more likely to have a smartphone and use it regularly to access the Internet.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Under $60K Over $60K
USE INTERNET 74 92 90 76 61 48 71 76 83 78 70 69 81
 Regularly 53 88 79 52 26 18 48 47 73 56 50 48 60
 Not Regularly 21 4 11 25 35 30 23 29 10 22 21 21 21
NO INTERNET 26 8 10 24 39 52 29 24 17 23 30 31 19

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How often would you say you purchase online digital downloads such as ringtones, music, videos, games, books, software or apps to your cell phone or other wireless device?

Two-thirds (66%) of wireless phone consumers purchase online digital downloads to their wireless phone or other wireless device. The younger they are, the more likely they are to purchase digital downloads and at a greater frequency. Hispanic (81%) consumers are more active in downloading digital goods than African-Americans (68%) and White consumers (63%).

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women
DOWNLOAD 61 66 93 85 66 48 41 63 68 81 69 63
 Everyday 4 9 19 18 5 3 1 6 9 20 10 7
 1-2 a Week 9 11 22 23 10 2 1 10 7 24 15 8
 1-2 a Month 14 18 33 23 19 11 4 16 21 23 17 19
 Rarely 35 28 19 22 32 32 36 31 31 14 28 29
NEVER 39 34 8 15 35 52 60 37 32 19 31 37

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Do you think it’s fair or unfair for consumers who buy digital goods or services to have to pay taxes from several different government jurisdictions for the same purchase?

By nearly a 6 to 1 ratio (75% to 13%), three-quarters thinks it’s unfair for consumers who buy digital goods and services to have to pay taxes from several different government jurisdictions for the same purchase. This overwhelming consensus cuts across all consumer and political demographics.

13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
Fair 13 24 24 7 6 5 10 8 26 16 9 12 14 12
Unfair 75 65 68 84 78 77 77 83 64 74 76 79 71 76
Don’t Know 12 11 9 9 15 18 12 9 10 9 15 9 15 12

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Which statement do you agree with more on the issue of taxing the purchases of online digital downloads?

  1. Federal guidelines should establish one fair and consistent set of taxes to apply to purchases of online digital downloads.
  2. Each state should have the right to decide how its state taxes the purchases of online digital downloads, even if it means the consumer could be subject to taxes from multiple jurisdictions for the same purchase.

By greater than a 2 to 1 ratio (59% to 23%), the majority prefers digital downloads being subject to one fair and consistent set of taxes established by federal guidelines. A little less than one-quarter (23%) thinks each state should have the right to decide how its state taxes the purchases of online digital downloads, even if it means the consumer could be subject to taxes from multiple jurisdictions for the same purchase. There remains a significant portion of consumers (18% “don’t know”) who need to be educated in order to make an informed decision.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
Federal 61 59 56 55 64 61 55 59 60 60 60 58 59 59 58
State 20 23 33 35 18 15 19 24 20 28 25 22 25 23 22
Don’t Know 20 18 11 11 18 23 27 18 20 13 15 20 16 18 20

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Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress or U.S. Senate who voted against creating one consistent national tax framework for digital transactions?

A plurality (41%) would be less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress or U.S. Senate who voted against creating one consistent national tax framework for digital transactions; however, this message by itself still doesn’t appear to be a top reason to vote against a candidate.

12-Dec 13-Dec 18-29 30-40 41-55 56-65 Over 65 White Afr-Am Hisp Men Women Rep Dem Ind
More Likely 26 32 39 41 29 23 30 28 30 49 38 26 34 33 28
Less Likely 40 41 40 34 42 49 39 44 44 29 41 41 41 42 40
No Difference 35 27 21 26 29 28 31 28 26 22 21 33 26 25 32

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