Watchdog: Comcast tax under wrong heading
Nora Norman of Mount Pleasant pays for cable TV each month, but she doesn't use the Internet.
So, she was surprised when she received her Comcast cable bill this month that showed a charge of 57 cents to pay for "Educational Capital Improvements" and listed under "Internet."
"I don't have Internet service," the 89-year-old told Watchdog. "Why am I being charged for the Internet?"
The charge is the result of the 1 percent sales tax that started March 1 in Charleston County to pay for school improvements, Comcast spokesman Bill Ferry said.
"It's just listed under the wrong heading," he added.
"This tax applies to all retail sales of tangible personal property delivered in or into Charleston County," according to Ferry. "This tax applies to all transactions already subject to the sales tax, and not specifically Internet services."
Sales tax already is collected on cable television service, he said.
State Department of Revenue spokeswoman Samantha Cheek confirmed that cable TV is subject to sales tax.
For instance, Norman already pays $3.62 in sales tax for her cable service each month.
In all, including the latest school improvement tax, she pays $8.33 in taxes, fees and surcharges on top of $57.25 for basic cable.
In addition to sales tax, the extra charges on Norman's cable bill break down like this:
--$3.21 for a local franchise fee
--57 cents for the 1 percent local option sales tax that voters approved years ago to reduce property taxes
--29 cents for the half-cent sales tax that voters approved in 2004 to fund public transportation, highway improvements and green space
--7 cents for a Federal Communications Commission fee
--57 cents, the latest tax, for school improvements
Ferry said Norman's complaint to The Post and Courier Watchdog team has caused the company to change subsequent bills so that the new tax shows up under the slew of other taxes, fees and surcharges.
"We will make changes to the listings so it will be a little clearer," he said. "The changes will show up on the next bills that go out."