According to a survey released last week by the non-partisan Tax Foundation, New York taxpayers pay a wireless tax which ranks third in the nation, and is far above the national average. Almost 25% of the typical wireless customer’s bill consists of federal, state and local taxes and fees.
In a household with four wireless phones and monthly charges of $100, consumers can expect to pay roughly $225 a year in taxes, fees and government surcharges, the group estimated.
New York’s tax and fee rate is about 18 percent; which includes state and local sales tax, an excise tax, a gross receipts tax, state and local charges for 911, as well as a sales tax that aids schools, and a 6.6 percent Federal Universal Service Fund rate.
New York State and its local governments see wireless bills as an easy way for bringing revenue into their coffers. But cell phones have become more of a necessity than a luxury for many people.
Lawmakers frequently speak of a “digital divide,” but taxes of this nature (and on other telecommunications services) disproportionately impact lower income households, promoting the “digital divide” and discouraging the use of telecommunications services.