Communications Excise Taxes

Excise Taxes on Communication Service is reported using the Form 720. A 3% tax is imposed on amounts paid for local telephone service and teletypewriter exchange service.

Local telephone service.   This includes access to a local telephone system and the privilege of telephonic quality communication with most people who are part of the system. Local telephone service also includes any facility or services provided in connection with this service. The tax applies to lease payments for certain customer premises equipment (CPE) even though the lessor does not also provide access to a local telecommunications system.

Local-only service.   Local-only service is local telephone service as described above, provided under a plan that does not include long distance telephone service or that separately states the charge for local service on the bill to customers. Local-only service also includes any facility or services provided in connection with this service, even though these services and facilities may also be used with long-distance service.

Private communication service.   Private communication service is not local telephone service. Private communication service includes accessory-type services provided in connection with a Centrex, PBX, or other similar system for dual use accessory equipment. However, the charge for the service must be stated separately from the charge for the basic system, and the accessory must function, in whole or in part, in connection with intercommunication among the subscriber’s stations.

Teletypewriter exchange service.   This includes access from a teletypewriter or other data station to a teletypewriter exchange system and the privilege of intercommunication by that station with most persons having teletypewriter or other data stations in the same exchange system.

Figuring the tax.   The tax is based on the sum of all charges for local telephone service included in the bill. However, if the bill groups individual items for billing and tax purposes, the tax is based on the sum of the individual items within that group. The tax on the remaining items not included in any group is based on the charge for each item separately. Do not include in the tax base state or local sales or use taxes that are separately stated on the taxpayer’s bill.

Read more on the communication services at irs.gov

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