Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wireless Contracts and the CTIA Mobile Phone Tax Petition

I stumbled upon some interesting mobile phone news today. I found out the CTIA is petitioning for a five-year hiatus on new discriminatory state and local wireless taxes. A new bill was also drafted to put this petition into action.

I was intrigued by these scoop because wireless taxes are part of the wireless contracts offered by mobile phone carriers. But before we look at the wireless contract policies that deal with these taxes, let us first go over the details of the petition.

CTIA issued the petition for a five-year ban on any taxes on mobile phone bills because these taxes may slow the growth of the wireless phone industry. The Association based the petition on studies indicating state and local wireless taxation receive nearly fifteen percent of each mobile phone bill. The researches also show that the taxation rate on wireless bill grew four times than that of other goods and services in the last four years.

In support of the CTIA petition to impose a five-year freeze on new discriminatory state and local wireless taxes, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Chris Cannon (R-Utah) introduced a bill.
The bill that was introduced to the House of Representatives is called the "Cell Tax Fairness Act".

About a year ago, presidential candidate John Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) sponsored a similar legislation. The bill they authored would mandate a three-year moratorium on new discriminatory wireless taxes by states. There are also some bills that may have an impact on the wireless industry such as the The Wireless Consumer Protection Bill and the The Cell Phone Consumer Empowerment Act of 2007.

CTIA President, Steve Largent made this statement to explain the petition:

“Keeping wireless taxes at a fair and reasonable level is critical to growing the economy and making the workforce more productive, efficient and informed. We should do everything in our power to remove the roadblocks -- such as excessive, discriminatory wireless taxes -- that stand in the way of progress.”

Now let us see a few wireless contract policies that deal with government and state taxes. Here is the policy from Sprint. This statement indicate that Sprint is required to collect taxes that may change without any notice. You have to provide a genuine certificate if you want to be exempted from any taxes.
You agree to pay all federal, state and local taxes, fees and other assessments that we're required by law to collect and remit to the government on the Services we provide to you. These charges may change from time to time without advance notice. If you're claiming any tax exemption, you must provide us with a valid exemption certificate. Tax exemptions generally won't be applied retroactively.
Here is Verizon's version.This policy is similar to Sprint's policy. A certificate is required for exemption claims and notices may not be issued.
You agree to pay all taxes, fees and surcharges set by the government. We may not always give advance notice of changes to these items. If you’re tax–exempt you must give us your exemption certificates and pay for any filings we make.

Well, I hope that CTIA's petition and the Cell Tax Fairness Act will be approved. I'm sure that all wireless consumers can appreciate a ban on wireless taxes. The wireless contract policies show that subscribers are required to pay them so we can all benefit from the petition and the bill.

No comments: