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Combined wireless taxes in Illinois highest in nation

A new report shows Illinoisans are dealing with the highest wireless taxes in the nation.

The report was done by Ulrik Boesen and the Tax Foundation and shows taxes on cell phones and wireless fees across the country.

Illinois charges combined federal/state/local rates of 34.56%; Idaho, which has the lowest taxes in the nation, charges 14.63%. The average across the nation is 23.94%, according to the report.

Arkansas, Washington, Nebraska, and New York round out the top five states. Idaho, Nevada, and Delaware have the lowest wireless taxes in the nation.

Ulrik Boesen of the Tax Foundation said that Illinois is first on the list due to the extra tax that the state levies on its citizens.

“Illinois has an additional state telecommunications tax on top of the federal taxes, on top of the 911 fee,” Boeson said. “This is how Illinois gets to have such a high rate.”

Most states impose per-line fees on telecommunications customers to fund capital and operating expenses for state and local 911 systems.

While most states have a 911 service tax on their phones, Illinois has a much higher service price than other states.

“In Illinois and particularly in Chicago, the fee is very high,” Boesen said. “It is 5 dollars a month for a plan in the city of Chicago.”

The report found that the 911 service charge is the highest in the Midwest with Missouri first in lowest charge with no additional 911 charge.

Illinois also has a state tax on telecommunications that is much higher than other states, according to Boesen.

“As most other states levy a general sales tax, this is very common and most states do this,” Boesen said. “In Illinois, on top of that, they have a telecommunication tax that is about 7% which is quite high.”

Illinois currently ranks the highest percentage of telecommunication taxes with 22.76 percent in wireless state tax, 11.80 percent in federal tax.

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