Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge

New Information – Recent Court Decision Regarding Prepaid MTS: 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.

Effect of Court Decision on Service Suppliers: 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.If you have any questions regarding prepaid MTS, please see our Tax Guide for Prepaid Mobile Telephony Services (MTS) Surcharge.

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration administers the Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge program in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).

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

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

  • telecommunication service providers/carriers,
  • telephone corporations, and
  • VoIP providers.

Special Notices

Information About



The California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is required to determine the annual emergency telephone users surcharge rate by October 1 each year. The rate remains in effect the following January through December. The CDTFA will send a notice of rate change to service suppliers prior to January 1 of the following year.

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Contact Us

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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