House passes freeze on new mobile taxes

The legislation would put a five-year moratorium on mobile-only taxes

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to approve a five-year moratorium on new taxes targeted toward mobile services, with supporters arguing that customers pay higher taxes on their mobile plans than on most other goods and services.

The House, by voice vote, passed the Wireless Tax Fairness Act late Tuesday. The bill would prohibit new mobile-only taxes from all levels of government for five years.

A similar piece of legislation is waiting action in the Senate Finance Committee. The Senate would have to pass the bill before sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature.

U.S. consumers pay an average tax of 16.3 percent on mobile services, but only 7.4 percent on other goods and services, co-sponsor Representative Zoe Lofgren said when introducing the legislation in March. New York City mobile customers pay a 20.4 percent tax, and Baltimore customers pay 26.8 percent, she said.

The legislation "is about expanding access and innovation in our nation's wireless broadband market," Lofgren, a California Democrat, said in March. "By freezing wireless taxes and fees, we hope to spur additional consumer driven development in wireless broadband and to increase access to advanced wireless networks. This legislation is about stabilizing the wireless and giving consumers the opportunity to choose services based on the merits and not on the changing rate of taxation."

Representative Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, is the other main co-sponsor in the House.

Several mobile carriers and trade groups applauded the House vote.

Tuesday's vote was "a victory for consumers who each year already pay more than $15 billion in extra wireless taxes and fees," Peter Davidson, Verizon Communication's senior vice president for federal government relations, said in a statement. "In these tight economic times, taxpayers are looking for some fiscal relief and the Wireless Tax Fairness Act ensures that for the next five years, they won't get socked in the wallet with new taxes on their mobile services."

The vote was also an important step forward for the U.S. economy and for broadband adoption, Davidson said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Tags telecommunicationU.S. Senate Fiance CommitteePeter DavidsonBarack ObamagovernmentlegislationVerizon CommunicationsTrend FranksZoe Lofgren3g4gU.S. House of Representatives

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?