This may be off topic. Though, it didn't seem to conflict with this community's bylaws:

I want to know how to get an absolutely clear picture of monthly spending on a Verizon plan. I've been told by Verizon customer service that they can't legally provide tax estimates, however, they have an estimator:

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Now, what I'd like to get is four (4) iPhone X's with an Unlimited Plan with a military discount. Three 256gb and one 64gb. I calculate this to be $185.39 per month since it's

3 x 47.91/mo. -> 256gb


1 x 41.66/mo. -> 64gb

Just for the devices, but the monthly pricing is $45/mo with -$5/mo for opting in for e-billing, so $40/mo for four lines is $160. That's $345.39/mo not including the monthly military discount of -$15/mo, so $330.59/mo. But, I'm not sure how to estimate (using the tax/fee estimates they provided) the first month's payment for the additional taxes, fees, etc. Do I just apply the percentages to the total value of all the phones combined? What about the monthly Verizon service fee, is that fixed, or will I be paying fees for that each month?

So I've got it down to $330.59 + $30 activation fee + $322.62 (sales tax) = $683.01 for the first month's payment (at least) not including the "Verizon Wireless Surcharges" (VWS) and "Taxes, Governmental Surcharges and Fees (% based)" (TGSF), which I'm not sure the payment details of. So is it:

First month: $683.01 + VWS + TGSF

Second month: $330.59 + VWS + TGSF




Twenty-fifth month: $145 + VWS + TGSF

Interesting things to note: The retail price for the 64gb device is $999.99 (at $41.66/mo. for 24 mo), and the retail price for the 256gb device is $1149.99 (at $47.91/mo. for 24 mo), but

$41.66/mo. for 24 mo = $999.84 < $999.99


$47.91/mo. for 24 mo = $1149.84 < $1149.99

So why (even though it's small) is the sales tax rate applied on the "retail price" when I'm not actually paying it because my monthly totals are less than the "retail price" listed. It is a small detail, but with a sales tax rate of 7.25% we get:

7.25% of $1149.84 is $83.36

7.25% of $1149.99 is $83.37

7.25% of $999.84 is $72.49

7.25% of $999.99 is $72.50

This amounts, for my order, to $0.03 + $0.01 = $0.04 more I'm paying for no reason.

I basically want a month-by-month list of projected payments. That is, first month, months 2 - 24, and months 25-and-on after the phones are paid off. How are the VWS + TGSF fees calculated/paid?

  • 1
    I think this is a great question, thanks for it. "I want to know how to get an absolutely clear picture of monthly spending on a Verizon plan" So true.
    – Fattie
    Mar 14, 2018 at 21:57
  • 2
    Note that taxes and fees can change regularly. Some of the funds operate on a recovery basis, they spent $ x Million on Internet for schools, so they now recover that from ratepayers. At one point CA had a surcredit, because they overcollected.
    – user71659
    Mar 14, 2018 at 23:22
  • 2
    Are you asking whether you're paying taxes and fees on (in the case of the 256gb device) 1,149.99 or 1,149.84 because the sum of the payment indicated equals slightly less than the advertised retail price? Is that the thrust of the question? It might be worth noting that the base CA state sales tax is 7.25%; 1149.99 * 0.0725 = 83.374... Some jurisdictions, like LA, have other local sales taxes applied in addition to that base rate, and this would be different than the taxes and fees outlined in your screenshots.
    – quid
    Mar 14, 2018 at 23:47

2 Answers 2


I'd advise you to just find a friend that has a similar plan and look at their bill.

In NC, sales taxes are paid on the amount before discounts/coupons are applied... so, if you buy a $300 item with a $100 coupon here you pay $200 + sales taxes on $300... instead of $200 (about $21 instead of $14).
Point being that elected officials come up with these rules, so you can't really apply a 'reasonable' test to the rules in any jurisdiction that I know of. You have a military discount so the fact that 'some rules make no sense' shouldn't come as a huge shock to you.

Verizon (and the rest) don't want to be on the hook for anything from a mistyped digit to the taxes going up before they bill you.
The main thing you're worried about with Verizon (and AT&T, etc.) is that they don't add any trash fees to your account - look at your bill MONTHLY!

Your concern at the end seems to be the $0.04 difference.

Budget an extra $20 the first month and for an extra $2 the remaining months. Because the taxes and fees will likely go up at some point anyway. If it is less, either pay the greater amount and have a credit or buy yourself a bottle of water :–)

-grin- Or if money is too tight, just keep your eyes to the ground and pick up any pennies that you see which other people won't bother to pick up.

Hope that helps, best wishes, and thanks for your service!


There are two fees given in dollar amounts, and the rest are given as percentages. So presumably, the former will the fixed amounts, while the latter are percentages. If you want to be sure, you can google the names of the fees, or ask Verizon (while they can't tell you what the amount of the taxes will be, they should be able to tell you how they are calculated). You could also find someone willing to let you look at their bill and see what their fees are calculated at.

The portion of the bill that's going to the phone price will have sales tax applied to it (apparently you're being charged that upfront, rather than it being part of the financing). I'm not sure that 7.25% is the right number; that's the basic rate, and most places add more to that. Normally, you shouldn't have to pay sales tax on interest, but apparently they are including the interest in the price of the phones, so you will effectively be paying sales tax on it (they may say there's no interest, but that's just because it's built into the price).

My understanding is that the phone price and sales tax will not be included in the fees/taxes/surcharges, only the service payments will be. So that will be 11.6189% applied to $145 (or $160, if the military discount is applied afterwards; you should check how that is handled), for $16.85 per month.

  • I would love a redacted current bill/receipt of a new customer with similar purchases. Mar 26, 2018 at 21:49

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