New to Arizona? Watch cell phone bill double tax - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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New to Arizona? Watch cell phone bill double tax

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

With cell phones, long distance charges are essentially a non-issue. Most carriers don't charge for long distance anymore, so calling to another state is free.

But there can be an issue when you physically move from another state to Arizona.

If you live in Arizona, and use your cell phone here, it doesn't matter what phone number you have, you should be paying Arizona taxes and fees to your cell provider. But if you've recently moved here from another state, you may be paying taxes to two states.

"They were double taxing me," John Isenbarger said.

In July 2012, Isenbarger moved from El Paso, Texas to Phoenix. About four months later, he took a close look at his Sprint cell phone bill.

"And it had the breakdown of taxes and fees, and I noticed that it still had Texas and Arizona," Isenbarger said.

They were broken down by each state. Isenbarger says a Sprint rep told him taxes and fees are charged based on the "physical location of the phone," where it's used the most.

"All my phones were in Arizona, and I lived in Arizona, there should have been no taxes for Texas," Isenbarger said.

Sprint issued Isenbarger an immediate credit of about $75, and apologized for the mistake. But he wonders about other Sprint customers who might also be getting double-dipped on their monthly statements and haven't notice?

"If they're doing this to thousands and thousands of people, we're talking about millions of dollars," Isenbarger said.

Isenbarger tells everybody he knows, if you're new to Arizona, or know someone who is, don't get double taxed.

"Check your phone bills and make sure you're only being charged the taxes and fees for one state," Isenbarger said.

CBS 5 News talked to the Cellular Telephone and Internet Association (CTIA), a cell phone company trade group in Washington, DC. CTIA says it's not just Sprint, but all carriers are supposed to charge taxes - not by billing address or area code - but by the phone's "place of primary use."

It's important for every cell phone customer to check their cell bill after they move to Arizona and make sure there is no double-dipping going on. If there is, call your cell provider and ask for a refund.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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