Victory! Congress repeals Spanish-American War Tax Legacy

Today, CSE praised the House of Representatives for voting to repeal the 3 percent Federal Excise Tax on communication services. The bill, H.R. 3916, overwhelmingly passed the House 420 to 2.

“It took 102 years to repeal a tax originally enacted to finance the Spanish-American War,” said Erick Gustafson, Director of Technology and Communications Policy at CSE. “This proves that once the government mandates a tax it is nearly impossible to repeal it, no matter how onerous.”

CSE’s activists worked diligently to encourage members of Congress to support this legislation. Our efforts will intensify as the bill moves to the Senate for consideration and eventually reaches the President’s desk.

“Excessive government taxation and regulation of communication services is the greatest impediment to access of technology and further compounds the digital divide,” Gustafson said. “This tax costs Americans nearly $6 billion each year, simply for the ‘luxury’ of keeping a phone in the house. Regrettably, this is just one of the many taxes and outdated regulations that make it more expensive for Americans to go online.”

“We’re winning the battle to end the Spanish-American War tax legacy; its time we re-double our efforts to win the war against other taxes that expand the so-called digital divide.”