There are a number of surcharges and taxes assessed on telecommunications services by the State of California, city and county governments, and federal agencies. These taxes and surcharges are collected by telecommunications carriers which then remit these funds as directed by the appropriate authorities.
A. CPUC Mandated Telecommunications All-End-User Surcharges
Currently, there are six CPUC mandated telecommunications all-end-user surcharges supporting various public programs in California. The all-end-user surcharge rates vary from program to program and they are adjusted periodically based on the forecasted demand of the programs. The six all-end-user surcharges and their approved rates since January 1, 2000 are listed below. Access to the resolutions approving these surcharge rates can be found by clicking on the particular surcharge rates. The complete history of surcharges in an Excel spreadsheet is available below:
* DDTP: This surcharge is designated "CA Relay Service and Communications Devices Fund."
The all-end-user surcharges are assessed on consumers' intrastate telecommunications services except for the following:
- Universal Lifeline Telephone Service (ULTS);
- Charges to other certificated carriers for services that are to be resold;
- Coin sent paid telephone calls (coin in box) and debit card calls;
- Customer-specific contracts effective before 9/15/94;
- Usage charges for coin-operated pay telephones;
- Directory advertising; and
- One-way radio paging.
The all-end-user surcharges are collected by the telecommunications carriers. They, in turn, remit the surcharges as directed by the Commission.
B. PUC Reimbursement Account User Fee
A fee, annually established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC or Commission), is levied on all telecommunications carriers (carriers) providing services directly to customers or subscribers within California. For more information, please click here: PUC User Fee
C. 911 Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge Tax
This surcharge tax provides funding for Emergency Telephone Service (911) in California. Every provider providing intrastate telecommunications services in California is required to register with the Board of Equalization. Questions about this surcharge tax and/or registration should be directed to the Board of Equalization, Special Taxes and Fees Department, at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), or P.O. Box 942879, Sacramento, CA 94279-0088. The CalOES 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Branch sets the fee amount and uses these funds to reimburse local Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) and vendors for their 911 network, database and equipment costs.
D. City and County Utility Taxes
Information on local utility taxes and surcharges may be found at:
http://www.uutinfo.org/. Please note that neither the California Public Utilities Commission nor the Telecommunications Divsion of the California Public Utilities Commission guarantees or assures the accuracy of the tax/surcharge information presented at this link. This site is provided for general information only.
E. Federal Excise Tax
The Federal Excise Tax is administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Information about this tax can be found at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p510.pdf. Or, you may contact the IRS at the following address:
Internal Revenue Service
Excise Tax Branch
1111 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20224
For California CPUC Surcharges and Fees.