Telecommunications Companies That Must Register With the Florida Secretary of State
Most companies in the telecommunications industry must register with the Florida Public Service Commission’s Office of Communications.
These generally include companies such as the following:
- Voice calling & telephone service providers
- Mobile communications providers
- Prepaid communications providers
- Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services
- Text messaging services
- Internet access services
- Video and music streaming services
- Satellite and cable television services
(Florida was one of the early states to assess communications services tax (CST) on voice and music streaming services.)
Companies that are required to register may not begin providing services until their application is approved and the registration process is complete.
The Registration Process
- Telecommunications companies complete an application form that’s specific to the services they provide. All of these applications are sent to various divisions of the Florida Public Service Commission:
- Telecommunications Companies: Companies that provide general telecommunications services should complete the Application Form for Authority to Provide Telecommunications Company Service Within the State of Florida. This should be submitted to the Office of Telecommunications.
- Local Telephone Service Providers: Companies that offer local phone services should submit the Application for Original Authority or Transfer of Authority to Provide Telecommunications Service in the State of Florida. This is sent to the Office of Industry Development and Market Analysis. (There are different applications for local and payphone services.)
- Pay Telephone Service Providers: Companies that still pay telephone services should complete the Application for Original Authority or Transfer of Authority to Provide Pay Telephone Service in the State of Florida. This is submitted to the Office of Industry Development and Market Analysis. (There are different applications for local and pay phone services.)
- In some cases, companies might need to complete more than one of these applications.
- Companies that are transferring an existing registration must also complete a Certificate Transfer. This is usually attached to the last page of the application if it’s required.
- The fee for a telecommunications registration application is $500 and non-refundable.
- Once the appropriate application is submitted to its correct office, the office will review the application for approval and respond.
Renewal for Florida Telecommunications Companies
The Florida Department of Revenue oversees the collection of telecommunications taxes in the state.
The Florida communications services tax totals 7.44%. This is a combination of the state tax rate of 4.92% and the gross receipts tax of 2.52%. The gross receipts tax further breaks down to a 2.37% and a 0.15% rate. Companies are permitted to collect the 4.92% and 0.15% (for a total of 5.07%) tax on customers’ bills as a “state tax,” provided that the bill is itemized.
In addition to these state telecom taxes, many local jurisdictions assess their own taxes. These rates vary across the state.
Telecommunications providers also have to pay all applicable federal taxes and charges. The federal excise tax, interstate access recovery charge, and federal universal service fund recovery charge are just some of the additional federal fees.
Telecom Tax Exemptions in Florida
Several telecommunications services are exempt from telecom taxes in Florida. These include sales of:
- Internet access
- Communications services used to provide internet access
- Telecom services to federal, state, county, or municipal agency
- Telecom services to 501(c)3 nonprofit, religious, or educational organizations
- Telecom services to homes for the aged with 501(c)3 status
- Telecom services intended for resale
How to File a Voluntary Disclosure Agreement in Florida
Florida’s voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) option gives taxpayers that have past-due taxes an opportunity to disclose those tax liabilities if they aren’t yet being audited. In exchange for the disclosure and agreement to pay the taxes, the Florida Department of Revenue will typically waive interest and fees that would otherwise be charged. As is the case in most states, Florida VDAs can cover a three-year lookback period.
To file a VDA in Florida, the taxpayer must submit (a) a statement explaining that you haven’t previously been contacted by the Department of revenue about the liability benign disclosed, (b) the tax type and period that’s being disclosed and (c) contact information.
Once the initial agreement proposal is made, the Department of Revenue will respond and request the following documents:
- A spreadsheet that identifies all taxes due for the reporting period, broken out by jurisdiction for communications taxes
- Statement of what amount of taxes (if any) were collected but not remitted.
- Mailing address(es) and location(s)
- Type of taxable transactions and activities
- Sales and use tax certificate, or completed Florida Business Tax Application (to obtain a certificate)
- Any other pertinent facts
Payment may also be included with these documents.
Conquer Florida Telecom Tax Requirements Once and For All
If you need help registering, reporting, recording, or otherwise managing Florida telecom tax issues, contact us at FAStek.
Our experienced agents have worked with many telecommunications companies in Florida, and have the expertise to help you conquer communications tax once and for all.