Bundled Cell Phone Taxation

June 27, 2013                                              

Boston – Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) is pleased to report that legislation resolving state laws related to the taxation of cellular telephones is seeing forward progress in the legislature. For years, consumers have been forced to pay exorbitant taxes on cell phones due to outdated policy. The bill is currently before the Joint Committee on Revenue and has received a positive response from committee members. Senator Ross has been an ardent supporter of this policy change.

“This is legislation that I have consistently proposed and worked diligently to support over the years, due to the overwhelmingly negative impact the current law has on the Commonwealth,” said Senator Ross. “The anomaly of charging such exorbitant taxes when the consumer is paying a much lower sales price is unacceptable. I hope that by keeping the pressure on we are able to realize this highly anticipated change.”

Currently, consumers are taxed on the actual value of the cell phone that they are purchasing, rather than the lower sale price that they pay to the vendor. The legislation would amend the law by requiring that consumers be taxed on the sale price of the device when purchasing it with a service plan from a vendor. This change would bring the policy in line with the sale of most other goods, which are also taxed on their sale price.

Senator Ross has filed several amendments urging the Senate to adopt this necessary update. Most recently, he proposed this change as an amendment to a Supplemental Budget for the Fiscal Year 2013. Although the amendment was not included in the final budget, Senator Ross was informed that the issue will be resolved within the committee process. Senator Ross has spoken with numerous constituents and business owners regarding the excessive nature of these taxes and the burden they place on consumers and businesses alike. While consumers are burdened with disproportionate taxes, Massachusetts businesses lose sales to other states that tax cell phones at a lower rate.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.


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