Area Codes

Yes, this is in partial reference to Luda and Nate Dogg’s summer of 2001 jam, “Area Codes.” But more importantly, this brings up an upcoming major decision in my life as I am on the verge of repatriating myself. WHAT AREA CODE cell phone number will I end up with??!?

In Sex in the City – the movie (part 1), Carrie gets depressed and throws her phone into the pool, thereby losing her coveted (917) area code…. she is later is “downgraded” to a (646) area code. During this time, I had felt her pain as I too, had to leave my (917) number back in 2008…for China…

Now two years later, I gotta get myself back on the US track.  But I’m getting closer to my decision as I break down the numbers:

Fact: Taxes suck in the U.S.

Fact: Each state has a different tax bracket.

Fact: Your area code can save you money!

Here’s a lil excerpt from a Forbes article:

That gave me a better idea. There are some states, blessedly, that don’t soak their cell phone-using residents. One of those, I happened to know, is Idaho–a state I visit regularly. (The Gem State has a 2.2% tax rate, I would later discover, the fourth lowest in the country.) Well, I triumphantly informed the operator, I am moving to Idaho.

Since it was clear I’d have to lose my coveted New York number to avoid Verizon-levied taxes, I changed to an Idaho number, provided an Idaho address, then promptly turned around and requested paperless billing, which I paid from my Los Angeles address.

Since my fake move, my monthly bill has shown a tiny Idaho tax of about $1.15 per month. At that rate I figure I am saving about $60 per year. If I was a bigger cell phone user, I would have saved far more. (I learned later, if I wanted to be a real cheapskate, I should have “moved” to Nevada, which holds the record for the country’s lowest cell phone taxes at just 1.1%.)

I also felt a bit guilty. I had established that is was practical to dodge high cell phone taxes. But was it legal? And was it ethical?

You can read more about what happens in the above scenario here.

But the basic breakdown for me is this:

NY = 1st Highest Tax Rate (State/Local/Fed = 21.71%)

MA = 42nd Highest Tax Rate (State/Local/Fed = 11.11%)

If ya wanna check out your state, click on this link, skim through the article for the hyperlink to “chart.”


“Area Codes” by Ludacris and Nate Dogg, from album, Word of Mouth (2001)

. . don’t burn the day. .


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