Missouri case may change cell phone taxes in U.S.

After six years, Missouri state court may finally decide whether municipal telephone license taxes, which apply to landline phone services, apply to mobile phone services, too. As subscribers move away from fixed-line services in favor of wireless, the courts are considering whether cell phones can be taxed the same as regular landline phones, which pay special utility taxes. Many states already charge sale and excise taxes for mobile services to guarantee universal coverage and e911, and carriers are unsurprisingly balking at the notion of more taxes for their subscribers. A Sprint spokesman, John Taylor estimated that 17 percent of the carrier's bills are made up of taxes. Depending on the state, however, taxes for a cell phone service range from 4.1 percent to 21.1 percent of the total bill.

For more on the tax issue:
- read this report from the WSJ (sub. req.)