Apple Inc. and Google Inc. say their smartphone bills will contain no taxes, but they’re also pushing consumers to avoid the $1.2 trillion tax on their devices.
“We have an obligation to make sure that people are getting the value of the product and the services they want and that we pay taxes on that,” said Steve Zadeski, the chief executive of Apple Inc., in an interview with the Financial Times.
“But I think the most important thing is that we’re giving people a choice.”
Zadeski is leading a charge to keep customers’ devices and their data at a lower tax rate.
Last year, the companies said they would not collect phone taxes, saying the tax is “unfair to the American consumer.”
But Zadesky said that’s changing.
He said the company is now adding a $1 charge on devices sold through Google Shopping Express, a partnership with the online shopping giant that offers discounts.
The company also is offering a $2 credit to customers who have a Google Wallet, Google Wallet Plus or Android Pay card.
In the coming months, Google will add a separate charge to the Apple bill that will be added on top of the phone tax, Zadesku said.
He said Apple has not announced an official rate, but said he hopes consumers will see a similar “dynamic” charge when they shop.
The tax was originally introduced in 2013 by President Barack Obama.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apple, Google and Verizon said in a statement on Monday that the tax was unfair to consumers because it would have resulted in higher phone bills.
The companies said consumers can use the same credit on a phone bill to pay for other things.
Zadeskys claim that the company would have collected $1,200 per phone in phone taxes in the future if it had not lowered its rates.
Apple’s Zadesks statement does not specifically address the issue of phone tax.
But it says that it is “committed to eliminating all tax-related fees on our smartphones and tablets.”
Zaleski said the companies are also taking steps to prevent customers from paying more for the services their phones offer.
Verizon has introduced an app that can help customers track their phone usage and the amount they are paying for data.
And Google said it is adding an “end-to-end” payment service that allows customers to make a payment on their phone bill.
Zaleski and other executives have said they want to encourage more people to use services such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet.