Prepaid wireless phones face new tax on Jan. 1

By the Herald staffDecember 24, 2013 

A new charge will be added for those who buy prepaid wireless phones and minutes starting Jan. 1.

A new state law requires retailers to collect the tax that supports enhanced 911 services on prepaid wireless services sales, according to a news release.

Cellphone users under contract already pay this tax on each month's bill. But for prepaid wireless users, the tax has not been visible when they bought phones or minutes.

Now, the enhanced 911 services tax will be charged for prepaid wireless users at the cash register and collected by retailers.

Local governments receive 70 cents of the tax, and the state receives 25 cents. It supports the cost of the technology that allows local emergency services to pinpoint the geographic location of cellphone users who call for help.

Retailers can charge 5 cents to cover the cost of collecting the tax until July 1, 2018.

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