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    TAX ON CELLPHONES PROVOKES STICKER SHOCK | Letters

    Hunger for revenues doesn’t justify overcharging consumers

    IN ITS editorial “Tax should reflect full cost’’ (Jan. 19), the Globe contended that it was reasonable to charge consumers sales tax on the full regular price of cellphones, rather than on the deeply discounted price that is actually paid. I disagree, and believe this practice is unfair.

    It is commonly known that cellphone companies subsidize the discounted price of their phones by requiring customers to sign contracts that spread the real cost of the phones over a two-year period.

    That cost, an extra $10 or $15 a month, is embedded in the monthly fee and is subject to state, local, and federal taxes and fees that amount to 12.9 percent.

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    To also charge the 6.25 percent state sales tax up front is to double-charge the customer. This would be like requiring customers who put an item on layaway to pay the full sales tax up front, and then collecting the same tax again on each monthly installment payment.

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    The state may be hard up for tax revenue, but that is no justification to overcharge consumers.

    Edgar Dworsky

    Somerville