Use a cell phone in SF? Save $5 a month in taxes!

If you use a cell phone and live in SF, you may have an easy opportunity to keep greedy local politicians from stealing $5 of your money in taxes every month.

  When I was paying my Metro PCS bill this month, I got into a discussion with their store manager about the bogus $3 charge the company imposes if you come in and pay by check. This particular guy turned out to be very cool and not only waived my charge that month, but told me how I could reduce my monthly cell phone bill by $5.

  "Just give us an address outside San Francisco," he said. He explained that if you are listed at an SF address, the city tacks on an extra $5 in local taxes that you don't have to pay if you use a non-SF address. I'm guessing that this tax probably applies no matter what cell phone service you have. If your service is like mine and you don't get a paper bill in the mail, then even if you don't have a convenient place to receive mail outside the city, it won't really matter what address they keep on file for you.

  So save yourself some cash and strike a small blow against pols who think they have a right to pick your pocket just because you live in the city. Call your cell phone provider and update your address today! I suggest asking something like, "Will this affect my billing?" and see what they say, rather than just coming out and saying you expect your bill to be $5 lower. If you don't get any confirmation of the savings, you can always ask for a breakdown of your next bill and make sure they aren't still charging you local taxes. Not every rep may be as cool as this particular Metro PCS manager, and no sense in making it too obvious that people are getting wise to the local phone charges scam.

  But do spread this message around to your friends, neighbors, and colleagues who use cell phones.

  Those of you who live outside SF may wish to check what charges, if any, are being levied by your own communities. Depending where you live, you may also be able to save money by using a different address.

Fight the power!
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loophole (n): A freedom they haven't taken away yet.