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Communications Taxes FAQs for Consumers

General Questions

Who do I contact if I have questions regarding my bill?

Questions regarding charges on your bill should be directed to your service provider.

Which services are subject to the communications sales and use tax?

Communications services subject to the new communications sales and use tax include, but are not limited to:

  • Landline, wireless, and satellite telephone services (including, but not limited to local, intrastate, interstate and international service) including Voice Over Internet Protocol;
  • Teleconferencing services;
  • Private communications services;
  • "Push to talk" services;
  • Pager and beeper services;
  • Automated or partially automated answering services;
  • Facsimile services;
  • 800 number services;
  • Telegraph, telegram, telex and teletypewriter services;
  • Cable television (including but not limited to basic, extended, premium, pay-per-view, video on demand, digital, high definition, video recorder, music services and fees for additional outlets); and
  • Satellite television and satellite radio.

Some of these services, such as Voice Over Internet Protocol, long distance telephone service, and satellite television and radio services were not previously subject to a state or local communications tax in Virginia.

What services are not subject to the communications sales and use tax?

Charges for the following services are not subject to the communications sales tax:

  • Information services (including electronic publishing services, web hosting services, 900 number services, alarm monitoring services, check guaranty services, credit card guaranty services and database search services);
  • Live operator answering services;
  • Internet access service, electronic mail service, electronic bulletin board service, or similar services that are incidental to Internet access, such as voice-capable e-mail or instant messaging;
  • Digital products delivered electronically, such as software, downloaded music, ring tones and reading materials; and
  • Over-the-air radio and television service broadcast without charge,
  • Coin-operated communications services;
  • Sale or recharge of a prepaid calling service (including prepaid wireless telephone service);
  • Provision of air-to-ground radiotelephone services.

Telephone Service

What are the communications tax rates on landline, long distance, and post-paid wireless telephone service?

The Virginia communications sales and use tax rate is 5 percent of the amount billed for taxable services. The State E-911 Tax is $0.75 per line.

What are the communications tax rate on pre-paid wireless telephone service?

There is no communications sales tax applied to pre-paid wireless services.  However, effective January 1, 2011, a Prepaid Wireless E-911 fee of $0.50 will be assessed on each retail purchase of prepaid wireless calling service.

Cable Television

What are the communications taxes rates on cable television?

The Virginia communications sales and use tax rate is 5 percent of the amount billed for taxable services. In addition, a public rights-of-way use fee is charged to each customer monthly. The fee is determined by the Virginia Department of Transportation, and is subject to change annually.  As of July 1, 2014, the public rights-of-way use fee will be $1.02 per subscriber per month.  This is a increase of $0.05 from July 1, 2013.

Last Updated 3/7/2014 16:19

 

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