Cellphones ring up taxes in Washington

first_imgState rankings with combined federal, state and local tax rate:Nebraska – 24.49%Washington – 24.44%New York – 23.67%Florida – 22.41%Illinois – 21.76%Lowest cellphone tax rateOregon – 7.67%Information for July 2012.SOURCE: taxfoundation.orgThe next time you change the ring tone on your cellphone, consider choosing the sound of a cash register ringing. Or maybe The Beatles’ song “Taxman.”Washington cellphone users have the dubious distinction of paying the second-highest taxes in the country. Nebraska has the highest cellphone taxes.It’s something you may have suspected the last time you checked your cellphone bill — if you were able to decipher it.And if that’s not enough to make you swear at your iPhone, consider this insult added to injury: The two neighboring states have cellphone taxes among the nation’s lowest.A study by the Tax Foundation says the combination of federal, state and local taxes on mobile phone service for Washington customers adds about 25 percent to the bill’s bottom line. The exact amount varies a bit from one community to the next because of differences in the local sales tax. There are also business taxes, utility taxes and fees for emergency service.“A lot of overlapping jurisdictions have been given overlapping authority,” said Scott Drenkard, who co-authored the study for the foundation. The state and many local jurisdictions both charge a fee for 911 services. The federal government tacks on something called a USF.“It’s like alphabet soup. Who actually knows what the federal USF involves?” asked Drenkard, who explained it stands for a universal service fee that subsidizes service to rural areas.last_img

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