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Taxes, Fees, and Surcharges for Cox Services

Last Updated: Tue, 28 Jun 2016 > Related Articles

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Learn about some of the taxes and fees that are applied to Cox services.


Cox services are assessed federal, state, and local taxes and fees. In addition to these taxes and fees there are other charges, not government-imposed or mandated, that may also be applied to Cox services. The table below provides descriptions of some of these taxes, fees, and other charges that may appear on your bill statement.

Note: Some states may assess additional taxes and fees that are not listed below.

Tax / FeeDescription
Federal Universal Service Charge

The Federal Universal Service Charge is a monthly fee assessed on telephone providers by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

  • It is a certain percentage (changes quarterly) of interstate and international revenues.
  • Providers such as Cox are permitted to pass along this charge to customers.
  • The Federal Universal Fund supports telecommunications and information services in schools, public libraries and rural health care facilities; and subsidizes local service for consumers with low incomes and who live in areas where the costs of providing telephone service is high.
State Universal Service fee

Similar to the Federal Universal Service Charge, this fee is assessed on a state level by a number of states.

  • Funding helps pay for services to low income customers, customers with communication disabilities, and customers who reside in rural areas served by small or rural telecom providers where costs of providing telephone service is high.
  • The contribution factor varies by state but generally is assessed as a percent of in-state revenues.
FCC Access Charge
  • The FCC Access Charge is also known as the Federal Subscriber Line Charge (SLC).
  • It is a flat rate monthly charge per line, and is allowed by the FCC, designed to help local telephone companies recover part of the cost of the local access line.
Network Interface Fee

The Network Interface Fee (NIF) applies only to business customers.

  • The NIF is a flat rate monthly charge assessed to interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Customers for each line, voice path or trunk that is active on the account.
  • It is to defray the cost of administration of interconnection services.
Municipal Franchise Fee

The municipal franchise fee is also often referred to as a "right-of-way" fee.

  • It is a monthly charge imposed by local jurisdictions on companies, and passed along to customers to help recover the costs associated with using the public right of way, including installation of underground conduit, outside telephone wires, and telephone poles.
  • This fee varies by city and county.
Federal Excise Tax
  • Federal law imposes a tax on local telephone services, including access line charges, features, FCC fee, and Directory Assistance charges.
  • All taxes collected are reported directly to the Internal Revenue Service.
E911Tax (All markets except Cleveland, Ohio)
  • This fee is imposed by local jurisdictions on end user customers to fund 911 emergency systems.
  • The rate varies by city and county.
E911 Fee (Cleveland, Ohio)This fee is to defray costs associated with the administration of 911 service.
PUC or PSC (fees)
  • The Public Utility Commission (PUC) or Public Service Commission (PSC) fee is a charge imposed on users of regulated services, which is used to finance operational costs of the state regulatory body.
  • For California, this fee is called a PUC Fee and it is passed through to customers.
State Sales Tax
  • Sales tax is a tax imposed by states, counties, cities and districts, on the sale of various goods and services for use or consumption
  • The applicability of the tax, as well as the rates, varies by state, city and county.
Regulatory Cost Recovery Fee
  • The Regulatory Cost Recovery Fee is a monthly charge assessed on Cox Business customers’ interstate and international long distance charges.
  • This fee helps Cox defray costs to comply with Federal regulations including, but not limited to, funding Telecommunications Relay Service for the hearing-impaired and national number administration.
Carrier Cost Recovery Fee (CCRF)
  • The Carrier Cost Recovery Fee is a flat-rate monthly charge assessed on residential customers’ interstate and international long distance charges.
  • This fee is to defray costs associated with interconnection administration and administration of federal programs.
Utility Users Tax
  • The Utility Users Tax is a tax imposed on the consumer for using a utility (telecommunication) service.&
  • The tax is commonly based on a percentage of the amount billed to each customer for the service and is generally governed by City municipalities.
Business & Occupation (B&O) Tax
  • The Business & Occupation Tax is a tax imposed on a company for the privilege of doing business in the taxing jurisdiction.
  • B&O taxes are typically imposed on the telecommunication provider.
  • Some states allow the telecommunication provider to pass on these taxes to the consumer identified either as a tax or a surcharge.
Gross Receipts Tax
  • The Gross Receipts Tax is a tax levied on the service provider to permit it to do business in the state.
  • It is usually a percentage of gross receipts received from business done in the state.
  • This tax is typically imposed on the telecommunication provider; however, some states allow the provider to pass on the tax to the consumer.
License TaxLicense tax is a tax levied on the service provider to permit it to conduct business in a jurisdiction.
Service TaxService tax is a tax imposed on the sales of services.
District TaxDistrict Tax is a tax imposed on the privilege of making sales within a special district (e.g., a rapid transit authority, school district, development zone, etc).
State Telecommunications Relay Service (& Device) Surcharge
  • Telecommunications Relay Service surcharge is imposed on telecommunication providers, and may be passed on to customers.
  • It funds the state telecommunication relay services for the hearing impaired.
High Cost Fund Surcharge
  • This surcharge is imposed on telecommunication providers in some states, and may be passed on to customers.
  • It is used to subsidize telecommunication service in high cost areas.
Poison Control SurchargeThe Poison Control Surcharge is a surcharge imposed on telecommunication providers that may be passed on to customers to provide funding for Poison Control Centers.
Excise TaxExcise tax is a tax imposed on payments received for the privilege of sending or receiving telecommunication messages.
Schools and Library Fund
  • Pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 39-1-61, a monthly surcharge of 26¢ is assessed upon each residential and business telephone access line.
  • Those monies go into the RI Telecommunication Education Access Fund (“TEAF”), which supports infrastructure for schools to access the Internet.
Communications Services TaxCommunication Service tax is a tax imposed by states on the sale of various communications services for use or consumption.
Broadcast Surcharge

The Broadcast Surcharge reflects increasing costs associated with the delivery of broadcast TV stations to our Customers. These costs may include, but are not limited to, portions of retransmission costs, network costs, copyright costs, and others.


Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) Fee

Federal law allows local franchising authorities (LFAs) to require cable operators to pay “capital costs…for public, educational, or governmental (PEG) access facilities.” (47 U.S.C. § 541(g)(2)(C)).

  • These costs are often reflected as “PEG Fees” or similar designations on customer bills, either as a specific amount or calculated as a percentage of a customer’s cable service bills.
  • Cox does not keep the PEG Fees for itself, after we collect the fees, we transmit them to the LFAs that require Cox to incur PEG “capital costs.” LFAs are responsible for ensuring that the PEG Fees are spent in compliance with federal law.
  • PEG Fees are in addition to the Franchise Fees imposed by most LFAs.

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