The Hispanic Institute

Taxes and Fees: Barriers to Hispanic Connectivity

WASHINGTON (November 14, 2012) – A new report “Taxes and Fees: Barriers to Hispanic Connectivity” released today by The Hispanic Institute calls for Congress to pass bi-partisan legislation that would require uniform tax rules for online purchases of digital goods and wireless phone services.

The report supports passage of the Digital Goods and Services Fairness Act, which would prohibit the imposition of taxes by multiple jurisdictions on the same digital purchase, and the Wireless Tax Fairness Act, which would impose a five-year moratorium on new, discriminatory state or local taxes on mobile services, providers and property.

"Right now, thanks to a regressive patchwork of state and local taxes, Americans are paying more than they should for their phones and the products they buy online," said Gus West, Board Chair of The Hispanic Institute. "This unfair tax burden hits hardest those who can least afford it, including many Hispanics.”

Both measures would deliver significant savings for all Americans, including the many Hispanics who rely heavily on digital devices for employment, education, commercial and other economic and social interactions.  

Read the Full Study [PDF]

Hispanics are particularly sensitive because they conduct more of their commerce in the digital marketplace than any other U.S. ethnic groups. Hispanics comprise more than 43 percent of American households that are wireless-only. That's a greater share than either whites or blacks. The report notes, for example, that “adult Hispanics are projected to spend more than $500 million on mobile apps and $17.6 billion on mobile devices in 2012.”

And because Hispanic median incomes are nearly 23 percent lower than those of the general population, they can ill afford to pay the taxes that states and localities are increasingly levying on the sale of digital goods and services.

"Excessive taxes on digital goods and services threaten to exclude Hispanics from America's rapidly evolving economy," West said. "Congress must take action to protect Americans from unfair taxes."

For more information or to schedule an interview please contact XiNomara Velazquez Yehuda at (202) 544-8284 or: xinomara@thehispanicinstitute.net.

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