Summary of Telecommunications Assessments, Fees, Surcharges, and Taxes
State and Local:
Oregon Universal Service (OUS) Surcharge for Telecommunications. The OUS fund supports non-rural eligible carriers that provide basic telephone service in high-cost areas in Oregon. On a quarterly basis, each carrier (telecommunications provider) must contribute to the OUS fund based on all intrastate retail telecommunications services sold in Oregon.
Emergency 911 Communications Tax. Each access line that is able to access Oregon´s E 911 reporting system must pay 75¢ per month. The statutes do not allow prorated charges for partial months of service. For cellular, wireless, or other radio common carriers, the tax applies to each device. Telecommunications carriers collect the tax from customers on a monthly basis, and the Oregon Department of Revenue collects the tax on a quarterly basis from the telecommunications carriers.
Residential Service Protection Fund (RSPF) Surcharge. The RSPF is a fund that supports the Oregon Telephone Assistance Program (OTAP), Telecommunication Devices Access Program (TDAP), and the Oregon Telecommunications Relay Service (OTRS). Each telecommunications provider and each cellular, wireless, or other radio common carrier must collect (and remit to the Public Utility Commission) the RSPF surcharge by charging $0.11 to each retail subscriber with access to OTRS.
Annual Gross Revenue Fee (OPUC Fee) for Telecommunications Providers and Utilities. All public utilities and telecommunications providers must pay an annual gross revenue fee (OPUC fee). The fee is assessed on companies´ revenues; it is not assessed on customers. The collections fund the OPUC and are collected and audited by OPUC. For more information, see OPUC´s web site under Telecommunications, Forms and Applications, and Revenue Fee Statement.
City Fees and Assessments. Cities may charge franchise fees, privilege taxes, business taxes, and other assessments on utilities´ and telecommunications providers´ operations. OPUC limits the total amount of taxes, fees, and other assessments that may be included in the utilities´ rates.
Federal Excise Tax. Sometimes listed simply as a Federal tax, this three percent tax is mandated by the Federal Government and levied on local and wireless telecommunications services.
Access Charge or Subscriber Line Charge. This was instituted after the breakup of AT&T in 1984 to cover the costs of the local phone network. This charge may appear as "FCC Charge for Network Access," "Federal Line Cost Charge," "Interstate Access Charge," "Federal Access Charge," "Interstate Single Line Charge," "Customer Line Charge" or "FCC-Approved Customer Line Charge." The FCC caps the maximum price that a company may charge for this. This is not a government charge or tax, and it does not end up in the government’s treasury. The current approved rate is $6.50 per line.
Access Recovery Charge. The Access Recovery Charge, or ARC, allows incumbent local exchange carriers to recover part of the revenues lost through FCC required reductions to access rates.
Universal Service Fund (USF) (Also called the Universal Connectivity Fee). Because telephones provide a vital link to emergency services, to government services, and to surrounding communities, it has been our nation’s policy to promote telephone service to all households since this service began in the 1930s. The USF helps to make phone service affordable and available to all Americans, including consumers with low incomes, those living in areas where the costs of providing telephone service is high, schools and libraries, and rural health care providers. Congress has mandated that all telephone companies providing interstate service must contribute to the USF. Although not required to do so by the government, many carriers choose to pass their contribution costs on to their customers in the form of a line item, often called the "Federal Universal Service Fee" or "Universal Connectivity Fee."