You're probably one of the millions of Americans who are using wireless devices to shop online and download “digital goods.” What’s that? It’s the latest apps, songs or videos, ringtones or e-books. But right now, because of a quirk in state and local governmental tax codes regarding communication and commerce, you might be at risk of paying multiple taxes and fees, to different states and localities – for the same download!
Here’s why. Say you buy a movie or an e-book on your wireless device while traveling through Denver, but you live in Des Moines (where you receive your monthly wireless bill), and the digital good you download comes from a server located in Fort Worth. Based on current laws, all three states can potentially tax you – for the very same purchase. In this high-tech digital world, don’t American consumers deserve an up-to-date tax system and to be protected from such an unfair tax code?
In addition, wireless taxes and fees are quite regressive, and hit our citizens on fixed budgets the hardest – students, seniors, small businesses, low-income families, and minority and economically-challenged urban and rural communities. In fact, national studies have shown that African American and Hispanic wireless users – particularly our youth – are the biggest users of wireless technology of any ethnicity, and are also the most consistent downloaders of digital content.
There’s thankfully a bipartisan bill before Congress that would fix this loophole and protect consumers once and for all. It’s a strongly bipartisan measure that would make sure consumers are not dinged multiple times for that “virtual” purchase of a digital good or service (such as streaming, downloading or storage). It also will seek to stop you from paying more and more in taxes than, say, you would when buying a “tangible” item from a physical store. For that item, you pay the sales tax only once, and the national average sales tax in a store is about seven per cent.
You can help today by supporting this petition to tell your Representative and your Senators at the U.S. Capitol to sponsor and approve the ‘Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act of 2011.’ The identical companion bills are Wyden-Thune (S. 971) in the Senate, and Smith-Cohen (H.R. 1860) in the House. The Senate Finance Committee and the House Judiciary Committee are considering these bills this spring, and it’s vitally important that you stand up for fair taxation so that your elected officials in Washington will hear from you.
Let’s help keep wireless downloads affordable and accessible for ALL Americans. Say NO to multiple, discriminatory state and local taxes and fees on your digital purchases. It’s the only common sense and fair solution to fixing our outdated tax laws.