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Adding Up All Those Fees, Charges, And Taxes.

I am not talking about income tax – that’s an entirely different subject and one I don’t want to get into here. I am OK with paying taxes; I understand that is how society works and stays in business. But what I want to talk about in this post are the fees, taxes, charges, etc. that are on every single bill or service that we have to pay for, from the smallest little thing all the way to some of the biggest purchases that we make. In order to get a fuller picture of just how much of my money goes out the door each month in these charges, I went back through a month’s worth of bills…and this is what I found out.

Qwest Internet Bill – $56.73, of which $9.46 is taxes and fees
Electric Bill (last month) – $45.57, of which $14.06 is taxes and fees
Propane Bill (Feb bill) – $206.91, of which $13.31 is taxes and fees
DirecTV Bill – I wish I knew, since it changes every single month. Don’t ever sign up for DirecTV. Ever.
Vonage Bill – $30.70, of which $5.71 is taxes and fees
AT&T Wireless Bill – $131.08, of which $19.84 is taxes and fees

For just those bills alone, I am shelling out an additional $62.38 in fees and taxes. Over a year, that’s an additional $750! I imagine that many people have much higher bills than we do, which means they are paying even more than we are in fees and taxes. As I said earlier in the post, I don’t have a problem paying my fair share of taxes – it’s part of being a citizen of a country like ours. I make a decent living, and I don’t mind if I have to pay a little more than someone who doesn’t. I am OK with it. There are different schools of thought on this, but that’s my opinion. That being said, however, I don’t like being taxed both coming and going. I don’t like having to pay fees and taxes on top of the taxes that come out of my paycheck, as these additional charges actually make your paycheck a lot smaller (especially if it is small in the first place!). Either these fees should just be buried inside the monthly bill, so I don’t see it, or we should just be paying some sort of flat tax thing that covers everything. Those fees are a rather large percentage of those bills; it seems kind of outrageous. For example, on our $45.57 electric bill that I referenced, only $33.77 of it was actual energy cost. A full 25% of the bill was fees and taxes. Quite silly, really…

What do you guys think? Have you ever added up all those taxes and fees you have to pay out each month in addition to your income tax? How much does it add up to? Which would you rather, they bury it or we somehow figure out a way to pay them all out of our income tax?


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Comments (15)

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  1. jdp says:

    This is a frequent rant of mine. It started with my phone bill. When signing up for a home phone I was baffled how basic service wound up being >$25/mo (we’re talking NO anything on there but dial tone and a private number). Then I got my first ebill and saw all the taxes and fees. Then I thought a few minutes about signing up for cable (no tv here w/o cable or dish). After looking at the packages and choosing something that sounded reasonable to me I called and was nearly signed up and thankfully asked “and what will my total monthly bill be when its all tallied?” It was 25% higher than the price I shopped….taxes and fees. I just skipped it. Same with the stupid cell phone.

    I choose what I use and yes, knowing taxes and fees sometimes factors into my choices. I use the library’s internet for free, no taxes and put money in their donation box. I use tracfone because I know what I am getting from my $20 calling minutes card when I buy it.

    If only I could get out of the utility company clutches, then I’d be happy. But then I’m sure they’d still find a way to tax and fee me to death…like the poor people being eco-conscious and responsible and buying hybrids. Pay less tax and pay less $ in gas was a perk. No longer, aren’t they talking about lost revenue from such a huge upswing in hybrid drivers and the double whammy of people driving less because of high gas prices SO they propose a new tax – not based on gasoline usage but mileage driven.

    So do I shell out major $ becoming energy independent in some way, maybe even get a wee bit of a tax break now thinking I’d be independent of the money-sucking utility companies only to be taxed more down the road in a different way for doing so?

  2. Matt SF says:

    You hit on a valid point b/c most people don’t even view what is on their bill. I’m definitely guilty of this since I pay my bills online, so rarely do I examine percentages of the “actual bill” versus the fees, taxes, etc.

    I’m still in the flat tax camp. Income taxes under our current setup are a waste of time and now that an entire industry is built around it to support it, lobbyists will never let it die. We’re stuck with the same ol’ same old.

  3. SJ says:

    Taxes are annoying. and complicated. let’s simplify them yayyyy

    Honestly why are they so high for them services grr…

  4. David says:

    Matt, I think you may be right, for sure…

  5. Andy Hough says:

    Our local natural gas company charges a flat $24 customer fee before you ever get to the other fees and taxes. I usually paid more in fees and taxes than I did for gas. This really irked me because my total electric bill was usually around $20 and I felt I got much more utility out of the electric than the gas. A couple years ago I had them turn my gas off for the summer in my apartment.

  6. Slinky says:

    I vote for repealing the 16th amendment. The representatives who let that pass are criminals. There’s a reason the sort of income tax we have now was originally unconstitutional.

  7. Imee says:

    Hmm. I haven’t tried that. I think I might be too scared to see all the taxes in my bills and whatnot, and totaling how much taxes I’ve paid for the entire year. I’m not against taxes either, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I’m paying too much.

  8. Ben says:

    “They tax you coming and going”

    Last year, I looked into the taxes (only “taxes” identified on bills) and determined that my tax burden was nearly 60%.
    Let me explain… I added the payroll taxes deducted from my paycheck, the sales taxes on store receipts, the taxes on utility bills, property taxes, excise taxes, income taxes (if my payroll tax withholdings fall short), self-employment taxes, and fuel taxes (included in $/gallon at the pump).

    As a percent of my gross pay, my tax burden was nearly 60%. FYI–I’m in the 15% income tax bracket and I spend 100% of my income. So for every $1 I make, 60 cents goes to pay taxes. And only 40 cents remains. Any tax increase will dirctly increase my tax burden. Wake up America!

  9. david says:

    But that’s not exactly true. Remember, you get a huge deduction right off the top on your taxes, plus any of your own deductions. So while it may look like it, come tax day it’s not really that high. That being said, no one is raising taxes on anyone in the 15% tax bracket, so you don’t really have anything to worry about.

  10. Tyler says:

    @david:

    Unless we switched to a flat tax higher than 15%, then we would be raising the taxes on such individuals.

  11. David says:

    Who exactly is raising taxes?

  12. You have a point! I am glad I am not the only one who thinks that way! Is ridiculous how we are taxed over money we already pay taxes for. 🙁 But we didn’t made the rules. The people who made them, did it thinking we are dumb and we don’t notice details like this! Oh, well!

  13. Abby says:

    Taxes and fees come from a staggering number of sources. Simplifying taxes sounds like a good idea – except that it often doesn’t reflect the complicated reality of modern life.

    For example, back in the 1930s, Congress mandated that all telephone companies providing interstate service have to contribute to the Universal Service Fund. It was initially designed to make sure that schools, libraries and other public services received telephone service, plus to ensure that rural areas – where costs would be much higher – could be connected at reasonable rates.

    It’s usually passed on as a fee to consumers on our bill. But even if it didn’t stand out as a separate tax and fee, it would be added into our calculated rate somehow.

    And while it is tempting to say, “Okay, telephone lines have been run EVERYWHERE since the 1930s, why not drop the fee?” the simple truth is that ongoing maintenance is required to keep our phone lines up – and that’s a public safety issue, as well as one of access. Without the fund, the cost would still exist – and be paid somehow, by some authority.

    I’m not sure I want those things hidden. They’re baffling, but right now I have the option of spending hours to figure out what my bill covers. If it were all wrapped up in my usage fees, I might not be able to see it.

    I don’t think that’s actually better.

  14. AnnJo says:

    I’m very much against hiding ANY taxes from the taxpayers. If you don’t know what government is costing and how it is being paid for, how can you judge whether it’s doing its job? And although the choices in politicians are pretty poor, what choice there is has to be made.

    There are plenty of hidden taxes you didn’t mention:

    1. The so-called “employer’s share” of FICA and Medicare, which is really paid by the employee. (The only difference between the employer share and the employee share is that the employee doesn’t pay income taxes on the employer share.

    2. Gas taxes – I think they’re at or above 50 cents a gallon now, between state and federal.

    3. Property taxes. If you’re a renter, you never are told the amount of property tax you are paying. I own a rental property, and a full 33% of the rent goes to property taxes. If you’re an owner but pay your property taxes through your mortgage company, there’s a good chance you have little idea how much you really pay in taxes. (By the way, you already are paying for your library through your local property taxes. Mine costs me about $128 a year. Leave a donation if you want, but don’t feel obligated.)

  15. david says:

    FICA and Medicare are not taxes, they are for a service that you and I will benefit from. It’s not a “normal” tax and fee, it’s paying into a system.

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