04-15-2016 2:08 PM
Why is it that no one seems to be able to explain how the taxes, fees and surcharges are calculated? It seems that it's a mystery to everyone at AT&T that I have spoken to. Given that these amounts comprise approximately one fifth of my bill, I think I should be given an explanation of how the amounts are derived. AT&T should be able to tell us in advance what our next month's taxes/fees/surcharges will be when we make a change.
04-15-2016 2:21 PM
There are 52 states, each with its own taxes and fees. Usage effects your taxes, especially if you use your phone out of state or make calls out of state.
Taxes are also not constant. Federal taxes went up in January and down in March. The difference is less than $2 total on my monthly bill.
Lines under contract will pay more taxes than lines out of contract with Next installments (installment payments are not taxed on your bill)
04-15-2016 2:48 PM
Each state taxes different things on cell phone bills depending on their specific regulations/laws/tax codes. States also have different, and fluctuating, tax rates. Then the Federal Government also accesses a tax/ surcharge on cell phone bills, if my memory serves me. This also fluctuates depending upon different variables. Of course, then there's the wireless company itself that has its own set of varying taxes, surcharges, and fees it accesses. Given this information, the reason why no one can tell you exactly what the taxes, surcharges, and fees amount is going to be each month is that the rates and variables change so much that these amounts are not set in stone until your bill actually prints. I would recommend a call to your congressman to see why the tax rate is what it is and what determines how/if it changes for your specific state.
04-20-2016 10:08 AM
Well, I would at least like to know what the rates are applied against. I can accept that there are many different rates and they fluctuate over time and that may make it hard to keep up with for the customer sales/service folks... HOWEVER, the charges that each rate are applied against should be easy to keep up with. For instance, there is a Federal Universal Service Fund rate -- what is that applied against? Is it the mobile share base plan (if so, is it before or after discounts?), is it applied to the individual line charges? (if so, is it before or after "discounts"?)... the MATH should not be that hard to explain -- someone had to write the algorithm into the billing program, so it's obviously not a total mystery.
04-20-2016 10:32 AM
You're absolutely right that there was someone, or a group of people, who came up with the taxing structure of wireless service in general. However, as it's been quite awhile since I, myself have been a rep, and the fact that Math was, admittedly, not my strongest subject during my school years, I'm going to defer to my fellow forum masters ( @lizdance40, @GLIMMERMAN76, @Busternutt, @kdfederer,) to answer your question more specifically.
04-20-2016 10:45 AM
You're not the first to try and figure it out. How the fed and state calculate is a mystery they aren't sharing. What I can do, is tell you how to reduce your taxes on the bill, and keep them more consistent
Pay for you phones. Whether it's full price or Next, you pay higher taxes on lines with contracts, but because you already pay sales tax, you pay no tax on your phone on the monthly bill.
I line in Connecticut, which isn't the highest tax state, but in the middle. I pay $29.75 in taxes on a $240 bill, that's under 12%.
Tax is on the line, not the data plan.
- edited 04-20-2016 11:00 AM
This bill is from a year ago, note the 911 fee went down from 70 cents to 51 cents. Most states had an increase in 911 fee.
But my taxes and fees total didn't go down, because other federal taxes and fees went up.
The best any carrier could do, is provide you with a ballpark of what taxes might be. In California or Florida, it's 20 - 25% of the bill. But it hinges on the lines not data plan. My sister has 7 lines (I have 8 lines, but 2 are tablets) and a smaller data plan same line fees, no tablets, and pays more tax.
04-20-2016 12:39 PM
I'm sorry, but to say "how the fed and state calculate is a mystery they aren't sharing" is just plain silly. They have to share it so that the tel-comm companies can program it into their billing system! I actually just spent an hour or two comparing bills and taxes on each line and making educated guesses about how the taxes/fees work and have finally figured it out... I should not have had to spend that much time to learn what the "flat fees" are, what is taxed and what isn't and then to determine the tax rates. We cannot check our bills to determine they are correct if we accept the premise that 20% of our bill is a complete mystery.
04-20-2016 1:12 PM
Whats the point? I still have to pay them and my time is worth $50 an hour, I'm not wasting it sorting out taxes I have to pay anyway. Not for the less than $30 per month I pay each month.
What I will put my time into, is reducing my taxes and other expenses. Which I did. I buy my phones anywhere else, so I pay less for the phone, no sales tax, often no shipping. I swap my own SIM card and pay no upgrade fees.