The Cell 100 Project: Getting to the Bottom of Phone Taxes

We’ve gotten a ton of feedback since the Boston Globe article (which is up to 60 comms šŸ™‚

So we’re officially launching THE CELL 100 PROJECT. This is a detailed analysis of the cell phone taxes and fees on our wireless bills. It’s time to root out what’s really going on. We know there are egregious taxes on bundled phones (I paid almost 30% in taxes on my $149 iPhone). What about those other monthly charges that have nothing to do with actual calls? Just how much are we getting hosed by the government?

My Verizon bill shows lines items for: Fed Universal Service Charge, Regulatory Charge, Administrative Charge, MA DA E911 Service Surcharge, and MA State Sales Tax. What are these taxes and where does all that money go? More fodder for slush funds? Is it true that smaller data plans are charged MORE in taxes than larger? How fair is that? We’re going to find out.

To make this happen we need your help. We’re collecting tax data through a variety of mechanisms. The first place is at the Worcester Republican City Committee monthly meeting on Wednesday 1/18/12 (Fiddler Green Pub, Worcester). Bring a redacted copy of your cell bill. Cover up your name and account number. We need to see the detail on taxes charged and your total monthly fee. That info is on page 2 of my Verizon bill.

We have a numbers weenie lined up to analyze the data and tell us what’s really going on. The first 100 wireless bills will be featured in our initial analysis. Then we’re going to expand this project wider. The vast majority of this country has cell phones. This issue affects us all. Taxes are already a hot issue for this election. Time to dig in and find out what’s really going on.

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