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CTIA Head Talks Digital Goods, Taxes

Engadget recently interviewed CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent, who discussed issues in the wireless industry including spectrum and taxes.

According to Largent, the explosion of digital commerce has created a huge demand for additional spectrum to support the increasing number of wireless transactions.

“You know, it really is the lifeblood of this industry… it’s what fuels the virtuous cycle of innovation and competition, and we’re trying to get more spectrum as quickly as possible.”

However, Largent argues that even with additional spectrum, high taxes on digital goods are hurting consumers and slowing the expansion of digital commerce.

“Wireless users in this country, many of them are not even aware of this, pay on average 15.3 percent in taxes and fees on their bills. In a lot of states, 23 as a matter of fact, they pay more than 15.3 percent. That’s too high. Many states are above 20 percent.”

The best solution, according to Largent, is for Congress to establish a “national framework for taxation on digital goods and services.” Without this fix, you could end up paying multiple taxes.

“You’re downloading music on your iPhone and you’re charged, you pay taxes on that. And it seems like every state in the Union is charging a tax, so you could be paying taxes two or three times on the same song which you pay for initially. We think that’s unbelievable, and it needs to be rectified and we’re trying to get that.”

Engadget’s full interview with Steve Largent is available here.

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