New phone tax goes into effect October 1

Jun 17, 2021
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

Starting October 1, 2021, all telephone lines (cell and landlines) will be charged an additional .24 cents per month. This will increase to .40 cents per month on January 1, 2023. The tax imposition is to fund the federally created E-988 system which is designed to help individuals experiencing behavioral health crises and prevent suicide-related incidents. The pandemic has unfortunately significantly increased these occurrences and crises for many people.

Several retailers will begin collecting this tax as they sell phones and phone plans. These retailers already collect a variety of other taxes on these transactions.

The legislation, House Bill 1477, was primed sponsored by Rep. Tina Orwall (D-33rd – Normandy Park). The bill had several concerns expressed by groups over funding and the use of funds. The measure finally passed on divided votes in the Senate 27 to 22 and in the House 71 to 25.

WR worked with stakeholders and carefully monitored the legislation for compliance issues and implementation requirements on behalf of our members.