Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge and Prepaid 911 Surcharge for Telecommunication Service Suppliers

On November 15, 2018, the United States District Court, Northern District of California (MetroPCS California, LLC v. Michael Picker et al, case number 17-cv-05959-SI), enjoined state agencies from enforcing the provisions of the Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services (MTS) Surcharge Collection Act because it conflicts with federal law. A notice of appeal of the district court’s decision was filed on December 14, 2018, but a judicial stay of the injunction was not requested, thereby ending CDTFA's enforcement of the prepaid MTS program.

Effective January 1, 2019, service suppliers must collect the Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge (ETUS) on charges for intrastate telecommunication service, including VoIP and wireless services (prepaid and postpaid). Prepaid MTS service suppliers will report and pay the ETUS on charges for prepaid and postpaid telecommunication services in the same manner as they did prior to January 1, 2016.

For more information, please see our Special Notice. We urge you to check this webpage periodically for updates.

This program page is for telecommunication service suppliers (including wireless service suppliers) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers registered and reporting to the CDTFA under the Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge Program. If you are registered for a Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services Surcharge account, visit the Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services Surcharge Industry Guide.

The term service suppliers will be used throughout the program information and includes:

  • telecommunication service providers/carriers,
  • telephone corporations,
  • VoIP providers,
  • prepaid mobile telephony service providers,
  • service suppliers and
  • direct sellers.

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration administers the Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge Law and the Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services Surcharge Collection Act.

The emergency telephone users surcharge is imposed on amounts paid by every person in the state for intrastate telephone communication service. The service supplier (or billing aggregator authorized by a service supplier) shall collect the emergency telephone users surcharge from each service user and remit to the state the amount of the surcharge.

The prepaid mobile telephony services surcharge is imposed upon consumers in this state as a percentage of the sales price of prepaid mobile telephone services sold in a retail transaction. Service suppliers shall collect the prepaid mobile telephony services surcharge from each consumer at the time of the retail sale and remit to the CDTFA the prepaid 911 surcharge portion of the prepaid mobile telephony services surcharge. Service suppliers will remit the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) portion of prepaid mobile telephony surcharge to the CPUC and any local charge(s) to the local jurisdiction imposing the charge. Service suppliers or prepaid mobile telephony service (MTS) providers are considered direct sellers if they sell prepaid wireless services directly to consumers in a retail transaction.

Special Notices

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The Office of Emergency Services (OES) is required to determine the annual emergency telephone users surcharge rate by October 1 and the prepaid 911 surcharge rate by October 15 each year. The rates remain in effect January through December of each year. Each year the CDTFA will send a notice of rate changes to service suppliers and direct sellers prior to January 1 of the following year.

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If you have questions regarding this program or need to register with the CDTFA, please contact Special Taxes and Fees at the following address or telephone number:

Special Taxes and Fees, MIC: 88
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
PO Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0088

Telephone 1-800-400-7115
(TTY: 711)

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