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Archive for October 4th, 2010

4
Oct

Buy a phone, pay a new tax

I bought a new phone (yes, some of us still use land lines) at Target this morning, and the checkout woman was baffled by something that came up on the register.
It added a “6% Linc telecom tax” to the price of my phone.
She’d never seen that before.
I knew right away what that was: Earlier this year, I wrote about how the Lincoln City Council passed legislation “clarifying” what items the city’s occupation tax on telecommunications applies to. City officials decided the telecom tax doesn’t just apply to phones or services you buy from Verizon or other cell phone companies, but any telecommunications equipment sold at any outlet, including Target.
Including land lines.
Which means I paid $4.80 in new taxes on my phone, plus the 7 percent sales tax. That’s a 13 percent tax.
Companies protested, saying this was a new tax, not a clarification, and could drive people to buy their equipment in other cities. They were unable to dissuade the council.
And so beginning on Friday, this tax began being collected at stores citywide. To give you an idea how some proprietors feel about it, one Verizon outlet at South and Normal has a sign urging people to express their dissatisfaction with city hall. They’re offering customers a pile of stamped postcards, helpfully addressed to the city Finance Department.

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