Tuesday, January 17, 2006
3 Percent Fee On Cell Phones Started 107 Years Ago
Call To Repeal Tax Under Way
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There is a call to repeal a cell phone tax most people probably don't even know they are paying, NewsChannel5 partner ONN reported.
Anybody who has ever tried to decipher a cell phone bill knows how tough it can be. One of the charges is a 3 percent fee on every cell phone bill in America. The origin of the tax predates the invention of the cellular phone by nearly a century.
Annie Brinkman and her friend, Stacey Lemle, don't know it, but every time they use their cell phones, they are supporting the war effort -- the Spanish-American War.
The 1898 war involved Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.
The fee began as a luxury tax on phones at the turn of the 19th Century. And we're all still paying for it today.
Phone bills don’t specify that the tax originates from the Spanish-American War. It is labeled as the federal excise tax, which amounts to 3 percent of every monthly bill.
"When you say it's a federal excise tax, you know, most of the time, oh it's the federal excise tax," said Laura Merritt of Verizon Wireless. "And that's just understood that it's a tax you pay. Where exactly those funds go is something that's a mystery to all of us."
It's not such a mystery anymore. And now, at least three federal courts have ruled the tax illegal. Many cell phone companies support a repeal of that tax. But they say they are caught in the middle.
"We're required to continue collecting that tax from our customers until the IRS tells us to stop doing that," said Merritt.
Some lawmakers are demanding cell phone companies stop collecting the tax and refund three years worth of fees.
But for now, every time you make a cell phone call, you'll continue to pay for a war fought more than 107 years ago.
...Proof, once again, that there is NOTHING so permanent as a TAX!
I'd suggest that the Spanish American War of 1898 was paid far more than a just FEW years ago. Though, it was probably not yet paid off when Senator KKK Byrd from West Virginny first got elected, sho 'nuf!
It certainly is time to eliminate this tax.
Next thing you know we will find out we are still in debt for George Washington's first set of wooden teeth!