Wireless Bills Falling, but You Still Pay More for This

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By Karla Bowsher

Your wireless bill may have fallen in recent years, but costs are increasing in one area.
The taxes and fees tacked onto wireless bills have increased in all but one state this year -- and increased to a record high average, the Tax Foundation reports.

Federal, state and local fees now amount to nearly 18 percent of the average U.S. wireless customer's bill, an increase of about 1 percent from last year and "almost two and one half times higher than the general sales tax rate imposed on most other taxable goods and services," the foundation reports.

The nonprofit research and educational group explains in a blog post:
Wireless industry competition has led to significant reductions in average monthly bills, even as consumers get new and expanded wireless plans. However, the consumer benefits of lower wireless prices have been partially offset by increases in government taxes and fees.
From 2008 to 2015, for example, the average monthly wireless bill decreased from just under $49.94 to $46.64, or nearly 7 percent.

But going back to 2003, the combined federal, state and local burden increased from an average 15.27 percent to 17.96 percent.

The only state that didn't increase its wireless taxes this year is Florida. The governor and Legislature opted to reduce Florida's Communications Services Tax to 7.44 percent from 9.17 percent, which the Tax Foundation reports will provide more than $100 million in tax relief for wireless customers and businesses in the Sunshine State.

Partially as a result of that decrease, Florida is no longer among the five states with the highest wireless taxes, but it remains among the top 10 states:
  1. Washington - 25.15 percent
  2. Nebraska - 24.99 percent
  3. New York - 24.36 percent
  4. Illinois - 23.92 percent
  5. Missouri - 21.25 percent
  6. Rhode Island - 21.16 percent
  7. Florida - 21.12 percent
  8. Arkansas - 20.77 percent
  9. Pennsylvania - 20.60 percent
  10. Kansas - 19.99 percent
How do you feel about your wireless taxes and fees? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

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