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oldguy
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:11 pm    Post subject: No tax? Reply with quote Back to top

Viatalk says they don't charge tax on their service. Why does Vonage?
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nicegurl
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Posts: 102
Location: Atlantic Beach, NY

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Quote:
Viatalk says they don't charge tax on their service. Why does Vonage?


[font=Courier New] [/font]
i really dont believe that they dont charge taxes on the plans but in any case their plans rage from $12.95 to $39.95...$10 more compared to Vonage.

you might want to check out the $19.99 plan that i have now...its $5 lesser than $24.99 unlimited plan and i still get to enjoy the exact same package of residential unlimited:-D
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sheezhot
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Joined: Apr 19, 2006
Posts: 172

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

They don't? Or the tax is inclusive already on the monthly bill?

They aren't tax evaders by any case are they? Lol

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xcrunxc
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Joined: Aug 04, 2006
Posts: 414
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I don't see anything on their website about no tax, but what I do see it this: "*All ViaTalk lines are subject to a monthly FCC mandated E-911 fee as well as a monthly Regulatory Recovery Fee.". Those are the same fees Vonage collects. Please provide a link or reference to the no-tax policy at via talk. I am interested to how they are doing that legally myself.
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xcrunxc
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Posts: 414
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Ok, well I hopped into their live chat and asked an agent to get the answer myself.

You: Hello, I have heard from several people that you do not charge tax on your service. I was wondering if this is actually true?
Agent: That is true.
Agent: There is a monthly charge of $1.25 for E-911, and $1.25 for Regulatory Recovery Fee.....these two fees are billed monthly.
Agent: Those are our only fees that are added on to the plan prices.
You: Is the tax built into the rate plan or are you exempt from it as a Voip carrier?
Agent: The only tax that we carry is the $1.25 Regulatory Recovery.
Agent: I believe we are exempt from state taxes because we are Voip.


Well, it seems the agent wasn't 100% sure about why there was no tax anyway. I remember when Vonage didn't have a tax, or only had a tax in select states. There was legislation passed that mandated that Voip companies pay tax as a local telco company would have to, thus Vonage added taxes. Even though the agent didn't know the answer there are two possibilities:
1. Viatalk is eating the tax dollars out of their profit. This is possible for a smaller company.
2. They are actually factoring the taxes into their rate plans, unbeknownst to their agents apparently.
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rexki
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Joined: Feb 19, 2006
Posts: 2
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:35 pm    Post subject: An update on the Taxes from a 5 year Vonage Illinois custome Reply with quote Back to top

Vonage does charge State and Local taxes on both my accounts with Vonage.

1. Regulatory Recovery Fee
2. Emergency 911 Cost Recovery
3. State Communications Service Tax
4. Local Communications Service Tax
5. County 911 Fee
6. Federal Universal Service Fee ( 6/1/06 - replaced FET -doubled)
7. State Telecom Infrastructure Maintenance Fee

Dollar amounts for the above and the percentage to the base bill of
$19.99

1. 0.99 4.95%
2. 0.99 4.95%
3. 1.54 7.70%
4. 1.32 6.60%
5. 1.25 6.25%
6. 1.19 5.95%
7. 0.11 0.55%

Totals 7.39 36.97% WOW!! Cell and LAN lines usually at 27%

The reason I left the typical telco was for this reason.

A call to the State of Illinois Commerce Commission and the dept of Revenue confirmed that they were not aware of any taxes remitted to them from Vonage. In Illinois all local telecom taxes are collected by the State and dispersed to the local municipalities, so this would mean that both state and local taxes are not flowing into the state from Vonage and my bank account since September 2006 billing cycle!!

I have a letter to the management that is outstanding for 5 business days that has not been responded to yet asking them for an accounting of these taxes being collected from us the customer.

To put an end to this non-sense and the possible bankruptcy of Vonage, I switched to Sunrocket and rolled both lines or 60 dollars a month to Vonage and put it into a single account for $15 dollars a month and only 1 of the 7 taxes above(Federal Universal Service Fee) , included in the 15 dollars per month.

We could start a referral network real fast if anyone is interested! -

Rex - The Computer Guy
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galion
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Posts: 233
Location: Midwest USA

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Directly from my invoice:

Quote:
Residential Premium Unlimited Plan for 1-(404)-xxx-xxxx (03/Apr-02/May) $24.99
Vonage Toll Free Plus Plan for 1-(888)-xxx-xxxx (03/Apr-02/May) $4.99
Virtual Phone Number for 1-(256)-xxx-xxxx (03/Apr-02/May) $4.99
Regulatory Recovery Fee $2.97
Emergency 911 Cost Recovery $0.99
Sales Tax $2.72
Federal Universal Service Fee $2.10
Total Amount $43.75


The sales tax was added after the change to taxes on Voip. But look at what I am getting. You can't beat the price anywhere. It is interesting that government taxes and fees add up to $8.78. That amounts to 25% of my base telephone bill (which is true of any phone service, Voip or POTS). Now the fees are not adjustable so if you have a lower base cost then the percentage of your tax and fees are higher. I guess people used to paying the POTS large dollars do not see the fees as significant while the Voip users see the actual skimming by the government.

Here are some Vonage FAQ answers:

Quote:
What taxes does Vonage collect?

Applicable sales tax is billed and collected on service and equipment. In addition, a regulatory recovery surcharge of $0.99 applies to each phone number. Emergency 911 Cost Recovery for each line and 911 fees also apply.


Quote:
Why am I being charged 911 fees?

State and/or local governments may assess fees on Vonage to pay for emergency services in your community. Vonage bills and collects 911 fees from its customers, and remits such fees to the appropriate authority. Depending on where you live, these fees can vary widely. Vonage is committed to supporting public safety services and resources in your State. For more information, and to learn more about the fees collected in your community for emergency services, contact your state or local elected official.


Quote:
What is the Regulatory Recovery Fee?

A regulatory recovery surcharge of $0.99 applies to each phone number. Vonage uses this fee to pay our regulatory-related fees and expenses, including taxes, number portability charges, and related legal fees.


Quote:
What is the Universal Service Fund (USF)?

The Universal Service Fund (USF) is a federal program aimed at ensuring the availability of affordable telecommunications services to schools, libraries and rural healthcare facilities; it also serves to subsidize local service in high-cost areas and low-income households. The USF is funded by telecommunications companies that provide service between states and/or international service. In June 2006, the FCC required Voip providers to contribute to the USF. For more information on the USF, please visit www.fcc.gov.

The Federal Universal Service Fee that appears on customer bills is a monthly charge that recovers the contributions that Vonage, as a Voip provider, must make to the federal USF. This fee may be subject to periodic adjustment by Vonage based on the FCC´s contribution factor.


That USF I believe helps make sure Verizon funds its lawyers (my opinion anyway) Mad

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rexki
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Joined: Feb 19, 2006
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Location: Elmhurst IL

PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 3:27 pm    Post subject: Research on Taxes Reply with quote Back to top

Keep in mind that the FCC has kept the state and local tax authorities away for now. This of course could change!

This means that there are no states I am aware that have a "proven" legal claim to collect taxes from the Voip industry. That is why Vonage has set up a tax reserve that should be in the neighborhood hood of 15 million by now. It was 7.5 million as of 12/31/06 per their end of year financials filed with the SEC since they are a public company.

Vonage claims to be paying 18 jurisdictions the 911 county fee and I have yet to hear back if mine in DuPage or Cook county Illinois are one of the 18 they are paying.

The Federal Universal Service Tax (*beep*) goes to the FCC. This rate doubled from its days as FET, which also went to the FCC. Almost like a ransom by the FCC to keep the state and local's away from the telecom tax trough! Soo...WEEEE!!

Vonage is likely using the 6 of the 7 tax line items to pay for their lawyers, but I am waiting for that accounting without holding my breath.

Once the number transfer is done, I am saying gooddbye to Vonage, Sunrocket came on line yesterday and it sounds better than Vonage on todays call. Lets hope Comcast keeps their hands off my voice packets and lets them flow as they are supposed to!!
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