Wireless Service Taxes Hit D.C., Maryland The Hardest

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By DeVan Hankerson

Did you know: Maryland (11th) and the District of Columbia (15th) are among the top 20 states with the most expensive wireless services?

A special report released by Tax Analysts, a non-profit provider of tax news and analysis, offers a detailed picture of the problem. If you live in Maryland, the combined federal-state local tax rate on your wireless services is 17.28% – and in D.C. the combined rate is 16.63% (as of July 2010). Wireless taxes in Maryland are about 6.3% higher than the national average and in D.C. about 2.3% higher.

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Low-Income Americans Disproportionately Hurt by Wireless Services Taxes

According to the most recent CTIA report, the average U.S. mobile subscriber bill is $47.23 (2011). Someone living in the state of Maryland, spending the U.S. average on wireless service, pays about $8.16 in taxes, fees, and government surcharges; and in DC about $7.85 per month. The issue of wireless services taxation is important to everyone, not only because of its influence on individual cell phone bills, but also because of its impact on the economy and the most vulnerable members of our society.

Maryland is a strong case in point because of it’s massive African American population. The largest county in the state, Prince George, is over 70% Black. It’s also ground zero for the state’s foreclosure explosion.

Wireless service taxes are discriminatory against the socio-economically disadvantaged in the U.S. since low-income Americans rely more heavily on wireless technology. While state-local governments like Maryland are using the wireless sector to shore-up state and city deficits…

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