What are they?
Communications taxes in Virginia include:
- 5% Communications Sales tax on telecommunications services
- 75ȼ State E-911 tax for landline and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOiP) phones
- 94ȼ Postpaid Wireless E-911 tax for mobile phones
- 63ȼ Prepaid Wireless E-911 tax for mobile phones
- $1.01 Landline telephone and cable TV franchise right of way fees
Beginning July 1, 2023, the landline telephone and cable TV franchise right of way fees will increase to $1.26.
These taxes and fees all appear as line items on your bill. Communications sales tax supports the Virginia Relay Center, a telephone relay service for the hearing impaired, as well as programs in Virginia cities, towns and counties. The E-911 taxes and surcharge, and right-of-way fees, are distributed to Virginia localities.
What telecommunication services are taxed?
Services subject to the 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 VOiP;
- 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.
What telecommunications services are not taxed?
- 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 email 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;
- Provision of air-to-ground radiotelephone services;
- Installation or maintenance of wiring or equipment on customers' premises (may be subject to retail sales and use tax);
- Sale or rental of tangible personal property (may be subject to retail sales and use tax);
- Directory and other advertising;
- Bad check charges;
- Charges for billing and collection services;
- Charges for customers on any federal military bases or installations when a franchise fee is payable to the federal government.
Prepaid vs. postpaid wireless E-911 fees
Prepaid Wireless E-911 Fee
- 63ȼ per sale of prepaid wireless calling services, calling cards, etc.
- If more than 1 service is purchased at a time, the fee applies to each.
- Report on your sales tax return.
Postpaid Wireless E-911 Surcharge
- 94ȼ per month
- Applies to monthly wireless service account
- Report on your CT-75 communications taxes return
The prepaid and postpaid wireless e-911 fees support 911 operations throughout Virginia. A portion of these fees also supports Virginia’s crisis call center.
How to register
- New businesses: Register online or by mail using the Business Registration Application (Form R-1).
- Existing businesses: If your business is already registered, log in to your Business Account and add the new tax type to your registration. If you don't have an online services account, enroll now. Or, add the new tax type by mail using Form R-1.
How to file and pay
File the Virginia Communications Taxes return, Form CT-75. Returns are due on the 20th of the month following the close of the filing period, even if there is no tax due.
File Form CT-75 electronically. If you are unable to file and pay electronically, please submit an Electronic Filing Waiver Request.