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c77m
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I found this thread just doing a Google search. I do not have Vonage, I have Lingo, and was recently notified that they will be charging the FET and Reg Recovery Fees starting next month.

I am curious, if Vonage has been doing this for a couple months, but Lingo is just starting to charge for it next month -- who determined the schedule, and are these taxes regulated at this point? I can't imagine these companies just deciding to fall in line with product-based taxes without some sort of bill being passed to mandate it. However, if a bill was passed to mandate it, I would think all companies would wait until the last possible moment to implement the taxes (which didn't happen.)

I've already sent inquiries to both of my senators and my congressman, and I encourage everybody else to as well. I have no problem affording the extra few bucks a month, but if they are indeed implementing an excise (aka product-based tax) on Voip, it is setting a dangerous precedent for taxing Internet applications. Especially when you already pay excises on your Internet connectivity.

Paranoia aside, it's past time to let the federal government know how we feel about this. Write your senators (http://www.senate.gov/) and represenatives (http://www.house.gov/) to let them know.
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paul248
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I would guess that Vonage has the FET because you're using a PSTN phone number, like you would with any other phone company.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

not following you. a pstn phone number? as opposed to what?

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paul248
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Well, that was just a guess. It's not really a "tax on an Internet service" because Vonage is not just an Internet service. Vonage gives you a connection to the publc telephone network, and the connection is made within the US, so why shouldn't federal telephone network taxes apply?
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c77m
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Well, I found more information and it looks like the FET payments were more or less a result of Vonage volunteering to federal regulation. Reason being, it's significantly more attractive for Vonage to be federally regulated as opposed to being regulated by the states, and some states such as Minnesota were bringing suits against Vonage.

That also explains why the different companies have added these fees and taxes at different intervals, yet in my opinion it is still a problem. Did you know the FET on telephone service was actually supposed to be intended to be a temporary tax to fund the Spanish-American War? True story. Look, you give them a little and they take a lot.

Excise taxes are just a bad thing in general, and any time they add new product-based taxes, it doesn't hurt you and me, it hurts the people who can't afford it. Check out www.taxfoundation.org.

Anyway, there aren't many services that are "just an Internet service," paul. My library's website gives me access to eBooks, my bank website gives me access to pay bills, and eBay gives me access to auctions. If communication in the form of encapsulated voice can be taxed, why not email, books, bill payment and auction services?

I digress. At any rate, the beginning of this post carried relevant information. < grin >
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